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Russia's U.K. Envoy Says Allegations Of Vaccine Hacking Make 'No Sense'

Russia’s ambassador to Great Britain has denied Western allegations that Moscow helped hackers target laboratories conducting research on vaccines to fight the coronavirus.

Andrei Kelin told the BBC in an interview to be broadcast on July 19 that “I don’t believe in this story at all. There is no sense in it.”

Britain, Canada, and the United States on July 16 accused Russia of trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world.

The British National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) said hacking group APT29, also known as the Dukes or Cozy Bear, had targeted organizations involved in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in the three countries.

APT29 hackers “almost certainly operate as part of Russian intelligence services,” the NCSC said, adding that the United States and Canada shared its assessment.

Following the report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had “nothing to do” with any alleged cyberattacks on pharmaceutical companies and research institutes in the countries.

Kelin told the BBC that the allegations made “no sense.”

“In this world, to attribute any kind of computer hackers to any country, it is impossible,” he said.

In its advisory, the NCSC said Cozy Bear exploited software flaws to get access to vulnerable computer systems, and used malware to upload and download files from infected machines.

They also tricked individuals into handing over login credentials with phishing and spear-phishing attacks.

Britain did not say which organizations were targeted, or whether any information had been stolen.

Based on reporting by the BBC and AFP
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Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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