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Russian attempts to steal COVID-19 vaccine data unacceptable but have not done damage: UK security minister

Jul 17, 2020 | 🚀 Fathership
LONDON: Attempts by Russian-backed hackers to steal COVID-19 vaccine research from Britain are "Completely unacceptable" but have not done any damage, security minister James Brokenshire said on Friday.

Britain's National Cyber Security Centre said on Thursday that hackers backed by the Russian state had tried to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world.

"It's completely unacceptable for the Russian intelligence agencies to seek to get into the systems of those who are seeking to respond to this crisis ... to develop a vaccine," Brokenshire told Sky News.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab said it was "Completely unacceptable" for Russian intelligence services to target work on the pandemic.

The US Department of Homeland Security and US Cyber Command also released technical information on Thursday about three hacking tools being deployed by the Russian hackers, codenamed WELLMAIL, SOREFANG and WELLMESS. Private sector cybersecurity researchers who had spotted the WELLMESS malware over the last year were unaware of its Russian origins until Thursday.