Russia hacks US and UK coronavirus vaccine trials

Western governments on Thursday accused hackers of working for Russian intelligence and trying to steal valuable data from a coronavirus vaccine trial. They accuse the Kremlin of the hack with an unusually detailed public warning to scientists and medical companies.

Intelligence agencies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada say the hacker group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear, is targeting academic and pharmaceutical research institutions developing vaccines against COVID-19. The same group was implicated in account hacking during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

It was unclear if any useful information had been stolen. But British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “It is completely unacceptable that the Russian special services target those who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic.” He accused Moscow of pursuing “selfish interests and reckless behavior.”

In more general terms, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany also said, “We have worked very closely with our allies to ensure that measures are taken to keep this information safe, and we continue to do so.”

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, denied the accusations, saying: “We have no information on who could have hacked pharmaceutical companies and research centers in the UK.”