London, July 16: The United Kingdom, the United States and Canada on Thursday accused Russia of carrying out cyber attacks in a bid to steal research materials on coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. The three nations alleged that hacking group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear and said to be part of the Russian intelligence service, is targetting academic and pharmaceutical research institutions involved in developing a vaccine for COVID-19. Coronavirus Vaccine Update: Russia’s Sechenov University Completes First Phase of Clinical Trials of COVID-19 Vaccine.

"A cyber espionage group, almost certainly part of the Russian intelligence services" attempted to hack coronavirus vaccine research, Britain's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) said in its report, which is backed by authorities in the US and Canada. The report did not reveal which organisations had been targeted, or whether any information had been leaked. The NCSC said it was more than 95 percent certain that APT29 was part of the Russian intelligence services. EU Adopts Regulation to Allow Quick Development of COVID-19 Vaccine.

"Throughout 2020, APT29 has targeted various organisations involved in Covid-19 vaccine development in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, highly likely with the intention of stealing information and intellectual property relating to the development and testing of Covid-19 vaccines," the report stated.

The warning was published by an international group of security services comprising Britain's NCSC, Canadian Communication Security Establishment (CSE), United States Department for Homeland Security (DHS) Cyber-security, Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and US National Security Agency (NSA). It remains unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin knew about the vaccine research hacking.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 16, 2020 07:58 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website