Russian hacking group attack vaccine researchers

According to British authorities, Russia is sponsoring hacking group APT29 who’re attacking British, US, and Canadian medical organisations.

The UK’s National Cyber Security has publicly stated that drug companies and research groups focusing on a Covid-19 vaccine have been targeted by a hacker group called APT29.

Known in hacking circles as the Duke or Cozy Bears, APT29 are sponsored by the Russian state and are considered a particularly troublesome collective when it comes to Western politics and institutions. They were responsible for numerous targeted incidents with the US Democratic Party in 2016 and hacked into White House networks in 2015.

It’s not publicly known if any sensitive medical information or records have been obtained by APT29, though any kind of infiltration into official medical work is worrying.

Russia has, in typical fashion, denied any involvement. Dmitry Peskov, a Russian spokesperson, told TASS news agency that ‘Russia has nothing to do with these attempts. We do not accept these accusations’. They’ve followed a similar stance for every other breach in the last five years.

Meanwhile, the UK’s foreign secretary Dominic Raab described the attacks as ‘completely unacceptable’ and stressed that the UK will ‘continue to counter those conducting cyber attacks’.

That might sound all well and good on the surface, but the reality is that governments and officials have been slow to keep up with cyber hacks and security breaches in the last decade or so. Just today Twitter experienced its worst ever attack, with over 300,000 verified accounts compromised and temporarily locked. While this wasn’t necessarily by APT29, the fact that these are happening at all is unacceptable.

More funding and better tactics need to be implemented into security systems for both tech companies and government bodies. We should be in a position by now where hacks and attacks are not a common occurrence, yet many of us don’t even trust our social networks to adequately store our information.

This is such a common issue that there are even websites dedicated to telling you whether or not your email address has been compromised. Hopefully, we’ll reach a place soon where information is stored more safely, and less damage will be done to important medical research and sensitive information servers.

I really don’t want to have to keep changing my passwords every few months just to ensure Russian hacking groups keep out of my private accounts.

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