Vladimir Putin’s hackers are at it again — this time trying to steal Western coronavirus research.
Russian group APT29, aka The Dukes and Cozy Bear, has been hacking medical researchers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, five intelligence agencies from the three countries announced Thursday — an ongoing “campaign of malicious activity” aimed at “stealing information and intellectual property relating to the development and testing of Covid-19 vaccines.”
Cozy Bear accessed Democratic National Committee systems in the 2016 election, and it’s using some of the same tactics now, with dangerous additions — namely, new malware to infect computers and then upload and download files from them.
The hacking hasn’t harmed vaccine research — yet. But it could impose big costs on companies now working to provide a lasting solution to the pandemic.
And, the advisory warns, the Russians have no plans to stop just because they’ve been called out. It’s shameless, since the hackers “almost certainly operate as part of Russian Intelligence Services.”
Russia publicly denies it all, just as it denies all its dirty tricks, from cyberattacks on its neighbors to overseas assassinations to government-run Olympic doping rings.
Oh, and experts believe China and Iran are also using espionage to steal COVID-19 research.
Putin and the other thieves plainly figure they can get away with it. It’s up to Western governments — and companies — to prove them wrong: Treat Vlad & Co. as the lying, cheating slimeballs that they are.