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US, UK, Canada accuse Russia of hacking virus vaccine trials

Western governments on Thursday accused hackers of being part of Russian intelligence and trying to steal valuable private information about a coronavirus vaccine.

Intelligence agencies in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada said the hacking group, APT29, also known as Cozy Bear, is attacking academic and pharmaceutical research institutions involved in COVID-19 vaccine development.

The same group was implicated in the hacking of Democratic email accounts during the 2016 US presidential election.

It was unclear whether any useful information was stolen. But British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic.”

He accused Moscow of pursuing “selfish interests with reckless behavior.”

The accusations come at a tenuous time for relations between Russia and both the US and UK.

“We may say one thing: Russia has nothing to do with those attempts,” Peskov said, according to the state news agency Tass.