Vaccine Claims By Russia – How True Are They?

Vaccine Claims By Russia -  How True Are They?

Russia made claims of the first Covid-19 vaccine recently, though the fact was proved otherwise. With allegations of hacking also coming, the incident added to Russia’s history of hacking and interference.

Crux of the Matter

Russian Vaccine Claims
Russia recently claimed success in finding the Covid-19 vaccine and declared it the “first vaccine” of Coronavirus in the world.

Sechenov University has successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world’s first vaccine against Covid-19. The vaccine is safe.

Russian Embassy in India

How True Is It?
Only the Phase-I of the Covid-19 vaccine trials has been completed in Russia. Phase-I involves administering the vaccine to a small group of people – 30 to 80 – to evaluate drug’s safety and toxicity at different levels of doses. To compound the troubles, Russians are facing the allegation of “hacking” from the UK, Canada, and the US.

In its latest statement, the British National Cyber Security Centre claimed that APT29, a Russian hacking group, also allegedly a part of the Russian intelligence, attempted to steal data of the Covid-19 vaccine development research.

It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary, the UK

Russia has denied the claims, labeling them as “nonsense” in its official statement.

Russian History Of Hacking
Russian hackers, allegedly supported by its government, have hacked into other countries’ systems multiple times with different motives.

  • 2007: Estonia, earlier under Soviet rule, planned to shift a Russia World War II memorial. However, Russia reportedly disabled Estonia’s internet and spread false images, which triggered violent protests.
  • 2008: Russia invaded Georgia and reportedly hacked its internet system.
  • 2014: Ukraine’s election commission was taken down 3 days prior to its national elections. Police reports claimed that the hackings were done to make the Pro-Russia candidate win.
  • 2015: Attempts were made to hack into Germany’s parliamentary network. Germany blamed Russia for the attempts.

Every day I try to build a better relationship with Russia and on the other hand there is such hard evidence that Russian forces are doing this [the hackings].

Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany
  • 2015-16: The campaign of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party candidate, and other candidates were hacked multiple times. These hacks were reportedly done by Russia to aid Donald Trump in winning the 2016 Presidential elections in the US.
  • 2016: Russian interference through cyber portals was alleged by politicians during the Brexit movement.
  • 2019: Several pro-Russia propaganda and fake news portals were discovered in Poland by investigative journalists.
Curiopedia
  • Fancy Bear is a Russian cyberespionage group which is known to target government, military, and security organizations, especially NATO-aligned states. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has said with a medium level of confidence that it is associated with the Russian military intelligence agency GRU.
  • Federal Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund is one of the state extra-budgetary funds established to finance medical services to Russian citizens. The activities of the fund are governed by the Budget Code of Russia and Russian law.
  • The financial crisis in Russia in 2014–2015 was the result of the sharp devaluation of the Russian ruble beginning in the second half of 2014. A decline in confidence in the Russian economy caused investors to sell off their Russian assets, which led to a decline in the value of the Russian ruble and sparked fears of a Russian financial crisis.

Hacking Attacks: The Next Gen Warfare

Hacking Attacks: The Next Gen Warfare

As per reports by Cyber Intelligence firm Cyfirma, there are 10-day old conversations on Dark Web forums regarding notorious China based groups – Gothic and Stone Panda, making India the next target of hacking attacks. How far will have they gone in their cyber-warfare plans and what is China’s next move internationally?

Crux of the Matter

What Lurks Behind The Dark Web?
The dark web is part of the World Wide Web content that is not indexed by regular Search engines and requires specific software and configurations as authorization of access. Thus, it can be an easy hideout for dangerous underground communities such as pornography, drugs, hiring hitmen, etc.

Cyber-attacks form a core component of 5th Generation Warfare: propaganda and information war.

China Cooking Revenge Plans?
Several government agencies, media houses, pharmaceutical companies, telecom operators, and a large tyre company in India are on the bull’s eye of a cyberattack by Chinese hacker groups. Their specific targets seemed three central government ministries – Foreign Affairs, Defence, Information and Broadcasting.

Notorius Plans?
This angry plan comes after a violent face-off between India and China earlier this week, a first in 45 years. Twenty Indian and around forty-five Chinese soldiers lost their lives in the clash and others were injured.

Mandarin and Cantonese hacker forums started talking about teaching a lesson to India, pointedly the media houses that have been critical of the Chinese army. Meanwhile, on the Indian front, a boycott China movement has taken pace, which urges consumers to stop buying products made and exported by China.

40,000 Attacks In Just 5 Days?
Maharashtra police’s cyber wing collected information about more than 40,000 hacking attempts, on India’s Information Technology infrastructure and banking sector, in just a matter of five days from 18-23 June. Most of them originated from the Chengdu area in China.

What Are The Two Evil Pandas?
Gothic Panda and Stone Panda came out as the two prominent groups behind such hacking plans, that have a direct affiliation to the People’s Liberation Army. Gothic Panda is an expert in targetting strategic sectors like defense, aerospace, telecom, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and engineering. Stone Panda has a past track record of carrying out secret trade theft and stealing supply chain information. 

Virtual Torment
Both groups actively involve themselves in targeting organizations in countries around the world including India, Japan, the US, Canada, Brazil and Australia. The most common attacks ranging from defacing websites by using a weakness in web applications to data exfiltration using specialized malware. 

Then there can be a denial of service and impersonating companies’ websites and launching malicious phishing campaigns, on top of it. The US and other western countries have long accused China of aggressive espionage, an act of spying and obtaining secret or confidential information, without the permission of the holder of the information.

‘Anonymous’ Online Activists In US
In light of #BlackLivesMatter movement that started in the US after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, hacker group Anonymous’ accounts have pledged their support to protestors against police brutality and racism.

The tweets and Facebook posts in which they highlighted their support, have been seen millions of times, and are repeatedly shared on social media platforms.

Covid-19 Themed Phishing Plans
There were reports of a Covid-19 themed phishing campaign by North Korean state hackers, which was predicted to target six nations including India, Singapore, South Korea, Japan the UK, and the US on June 21.

The attack was a part of the Lazarus Group’s plan against 50 lakh individuals and businesses, including small and large enterprises.

Curiopedia
  • A black hat hacker is a hacker who violates computer security for personal gain or maliciousness. The black hat/white hat terminology originates in the Western genre of popular American culture, in which black and white hats denote villainous and heroic cowboys respectively.
  • Activities of playful cleverness can be said to have “hack value” and therefore the term “hacks” came about, with early examples including pranks at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) done by students to demonstrate their technical aptitude and cleverness. Therefore, the hacker culture originally emerged in academia in the 1960s around the MIT.
  • Anonymous is a decentralized international activist/hacktivist movement that is widely known for its various cyber attacks against several governments, government institutions and government agencies, corporations, and the Church of Scientology. The name Anonymous itself is inspired by the perceived anonymity under which users post images and comments on the Internet.