The United Kingdom’s cyber-security National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said the hackers “almost certainly” operated as “part of Russian intelligence services.” The hack was aimed to steal potential coronavirus vaccines research.
The agency said the attacks by the group APT29 were ongoing. Their targets have included UK, US and Canadian vaccine research and development organizations.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab expressed outrage at the findings, which were published alongside an advisory on how organisations can help protect themselves from cyber-attacks.
“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
“While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behavior, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.”
“The UK will continue to counter those conducting such cyber attacks, and work with our allies to hold perpetrators to account.”
The NCSC said that government, diplomatic, think-tank, healthcare and energy groups were mainly being targeted, in a bid “to steal valuable intellectual property”