Government advisor warns that IT is strained following Russian cyber play for vaccine


Following the recent news of the Russian attempt to steal the coronavirus vaccine from research institutions in the UK, US and Canada, Bill Conner, cyber security expert and CEO of SonicWall, made the following comment :

“Cybercriminals perpetrate their attacks for one or more of four core motives: financial gain, political interference, creating general havoc and stealing intellectual property. Never has this last aim been more apparent than now, at a time when Russia is vying for dominance. The coronavirus vaccine, urgently coveted by all countries, can grant a significant advantage.

The Russian intelligence group suspected of deploying this attack, APT29 or ‘Cosy Bear’ has deployed malware strains to access research organisations’ systems, and social engineering attacks like phishing and spear-phishing to trick employees into handing over access credentials. 

At a time when remote working has rendered everyone more susceptible to social engineering, given the lack of the common ‘safety net’, businesses, higher education and governments — especially those in possession of vital research and information — must remain hyper-vigilant. Keeping in mind that IT teams are strained and security budgets are tight, businesses and organisations need a solution that offers easy, resource-saving centralised management”.


Bill Conner advises the UK Government on cyber defense, and has created the UK e-passport encryption as well as INTERPOL’s own smart-ID.