If the reported attempts by Russian hackers steal a vaccine against coronavirus – however, the interests of the Russian authorities can once again be under attack, believes Konstantin Eggert.
In the last months of trouble one after the other literally haunt the Kremlin. To the process in the case of MH17, in the Hague, pandemics, problems of the “Nord stream-2”, demonstrations in Khabarovsk and the introduction of a British version of the Magnitsky act added new charges.
“Cozy bears” from GRU?
Representatives of the intelligence services of Britain, Canada and the United States stated that hackers are “almost certainly associated with the Russian intelligence services”, held a series of cyber attacks against research institutions of the three countries, developing a vaccine against coronavirus. It is presumed, is about the hacker group Cozy Bear-related, according to Western sources, the Russian military intelligence (ex-GRU, now just the Main Directorate of the General staff).
This statement of the National cybersecurity center in the United Kingdom and the national security Agency of the USA coincided with loud statements of officials in Moscow that Russia here-here will introduce the vaccine from COVID-19. It may be just a coincidence. The approval of the British and their allies, the Kremlin categorically rejected.
From the statements of the British, Americans and Canadians is unclear, have made hackers a success in hacking databases. It is also unclear whether the hacker’s goal only civil companies, or military laboratories, which, theoretically, do antivirus research.
Themselves cyberattacks long been no surprise. Cyber warfare is part of the modern reality. Suffice it to recall the hacking of the servers of the National Committee of the US Democratic party in 2016, who still speaks with a loud echo in American politics. But if hackers attacked a medical laboratory, it is a special case.
Possible conclusions and consequences
First, one thing the scientific-technical espionage. It has existed since time immemorial. From the point of view of the average person, the state will always try to steal the blueprints of a new tank or a missile. Another thing – the alleged attempt to steal the data of civic development, which now, in a pandemic, needs the whole world. There is something unworthy and morally repulsive.
If hacking took place, the conclusions suggest unpleasant: either the Russian leadership uses the global tragedy for cheap publicity campaign in the style of “Soviet science is the most advanced on the planet!”, or, the real situation of coronavirus in Russia is so bad that all means are good to her urgently to reverse.
Finally, if data on the activities of the Cozy bear is correct, then we are talking about the attempt of theft of intellectual property in the truest sense of the word. This is one of the major causes of conflict between America and China. Beijing, with its economic power can afford to steal other people’s patents. Russia, with its GDP close in size to the GDP of Spain, it would be better that reputation for myself not to earn. But later.
Bad PR for Putin
Further development of this history increases the risk for the Kremlin. First, no one knows what will take the UK, USA and Canada. They have their cyberpony. Secondly, a wide range of sanctions measures. It is worth remembering proposed by senators Ted Cruz and Jeanne Shaheen, a bill intended to finally bury any attempts of Gazprom to build the pipeline “Nord stream-2”.
In addition, the Senate can quite easily adopt amendments to the law “On combating the enemies of America by sanctions” (CAATSA) penalties new level against the Russian state banks and sovereign debt. Such proposals were voiced in the spring of this year. In conditions of economic crisis, unfolding against the backdrop of a pandemic, it could hit the Russian elite is much stronger than would be hit in February, before the plague.
This whole story brings to mind another story of the Soviet atomic project. Stalin would not have been able to build an atomic bomb by 1949, if it is recruited by intelligence agents gave Moscow the tons of American and British secret projects. The “triumph of Soviet physicists” was largely stolen. But the bomb is a weapon, a symbol of death. The vaccine is salvation, a symbol of life. A stolen gun and theft of ventilator – miscellaneous theft. Second in the eyes of people a lot already, and remember it will take longer. No matter how events developed further, this episode has become bad PR for the Kremlin.