If you can’t research and develop your own vaccine, then just steal from others’ work? Hackers based in Russia have reportedly been caught trying to infiltrate computer systems of Western institutions and laboratories to steal vaccine research data for COVID-19.

According to the US National Security Agency, as well as British and Canadian intelligence agencies, the group known as APT29 or Cozy Bear has been attempting to hack into universities, health institutes and other related companies in Western countries. No specific targeted company or university was named, and the hacking attempts apparently have only had limited success so far.

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The motive was not to sabotage efforts in eliminating the pandemic but to boost Russia’s own attempts to make a vaccine. Should the country be successful in their own vaccine, then they wouldn’t rely on Western countries to inoculate their populace. 

For their attacks in the past, for election interference and other nefarious objectives, APT29 has been linked to Russian intelligence agencies. Naturally, Russia denies responsibility. Russian officials believe the accusations are Western attempts to tarnish Russia’s own vaccine research, so Western countries can come out on top of the race for the vaccine and make large sums of money in worldwide distribution.

Sources: The Register, Reuters

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