Hacking Coronavirus Vaccine Data: New Intelligence Weapon of Russia?

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Author: Risyad Sadzikri

In the  mid-July, The UK, US, and Canadian officials discovered hacking activities on coronavirus vaccine development projects by allegedly Russian-sponsored hackers. The officials said that the criminals, working for Advanced Persistent Threat 29 (APT29) or “Cozy Bear”, have been caught attacking pharmaceutical businesses and academic institutions involved in vaccine development that they believed as an attempt to steal intellectual property and information about potential vaccine candidates. APT29 itself is widely believed to be linked to the Russian intelligence services and has been involved in a high number of cyberattacks in recent years, including the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.[1]

Usually, the Russian intelligence activities in the western countries are known for its conventional, KGB-style techniques, e.g. poisoning and planting sleeper agents. But recently the Russian is reported to use hacking as a new intelligence technique, started by the hacking of DNC’s email to discredits Hillary Clinton and supports Donald Trump. Therefore, if the accusation regarding vaccine hacks is true, hacking will officially gain its status as Russia’s new intelligence “weapon” in the information era.


[1] Matt Burgess, “Russia has been caught hacking into coronavirus vaccine projects,” WIRED, 16 July 2020, retrieved on 26 July 2020, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/russia-hack-coronavirus-vaccine.


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