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Media: Russia, Iran, China may be preparing cyberattacks on vaccine creator

11:57, 23 November 2020
Media: Russia, Iran, China may be preparing cyberattacks on vaccine creator Photo: Sergey Lantyukhov/NEWS.ru

Experts suggest that hackers from Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea may be preparing cyberattacks on manufacturers of an anti-COVID vaccine, The Guardian reports.


Russia’s best-known hacker groups – Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear – are considered to be linked to the country’s intelligence organizations, according to western security agencies.

Fancy Bear, the better known of the two, is linked to GRU military intelligence and is accused of being behind the hack of US Democratic party computers in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, the product of which was widely leaked.

Hackers in the group sought to gain entry to a wide variety of systems relating to medical research, often by trying to exploit known vulnerabilities left unfixed to try to gain long-term access.

When talking about Beijing, The Guardian reports that China has been accused of being engaged in hacking activities by the west for many years.

In 2015, China’s president, Xi Jinping, and the then US president, Barack Obama, struck an agreement promising not to ‘knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property’ for commercial advantage – which prompted a partial retreat and then a restructuring.

Iran, one of the countries worst affected by coronavirus, was accused of targeting the World Health Organization in early April by using phishing techniques, in which emails were sent trying to encourage staff members to click on a link containing malware in an attempt to steal passwords and gain access to systems.

Cybersecurity researchers say several hacker groups operate from Iran, engaged in both political and economically focused attacks.

Similar claims were made against North Korea as well.

As long as there is no mass production of a vaccine against coronavirus, countries should focus on curbing the spread of coronavirus infection, said Melita Vujnovic, WHO representative in the Russian Federation, NEWS.ru reported earlier.