Hackers from Iran target UK Universities to steal vaccine secrets

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British institutions fighting the coronavirus outbreak have been subject to cyber attacks traced back to Russia and Iran, The Daily Mail reported on Sunday

Hackers have targeted universities in the UK working on potential vaccines and testing kits, as well as scientists and doctors studying the virus, it said.

Spy bosses at the National Cyber Security Center branded the attacks “utterly reprehensible” and confirmed they were working “round the clock” to battle the online menace.

Security and Whitehall figures have revealed a sustained attempt to target Britain’s efforts to fight the virus by accessing emails and servers in universities and scientific facilities.

“It looks like they’re trying to steal or borrow information about our response to coronavirus,” one figure was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

A separate security source said: “This problem – intellectual property theft and a blurred line between state and serious crime – has been around for a while but there’s obviously now an increased need to ensure we protect UK PLC and its assets.”

However, no major attack has been successful, said the report.

According to The Mail, the incidents mirror activity detected in the US last week. The director of America’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Bill Evanina, said the US government had warned all its medical research organizations of the threat.

“We have been working… to ensure they are protecting all the research and data as best they can,” he told the BBC.

“We have every expectation foreign intelligence services, to include the Chinese Communist Party, will attempt to obtain what we are making here.”

Britain’s security services and online crime fighters have passed a similar warning to UK researchers, said The Mail.

It quoted Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Defense Committee, as saying that Britain should “not hesitate in retaliating appropriately.”

According to the National Cyber Security Center, there has been an increased proportion of cyber attacks related to the pandemic.

Source » aawsat

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