UK launches anti-disinformation campaign on Covid-19 vaccine

UK anti-disinformation campaign covid-19 social media monitoring cozy bear group apt26

The ongoing pandemic has just added to the existing mutual competition between nations, especially those listed in the first world country category. In the world’s current situation, every prominent government has been running to immediately develop the Covid-19 vaccine to solve this issue. The perception that the first to produce will surely put them on the pedestal in any geopolitical matters. For such reason, countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are rushing in to immediately produce the vaccine that can be tagged as the most significant discovery of the century. With its outlying significance, any information about its development is the most valuable treasure targeted now by most adversaries in the world.

Last July, above mentioned significant countries, have reported that their funded organization that works on research facilities developing the Covid-19 vaccines has been targeted by a known adversary. Arising from the evidence gathered by different cybersecurity experts, the name of the allegedly in-house adversary of Russia, the Cozy Bear, aka APT29, comes to the top. Cozy Bear has been noticeable for their intelligence gathering services that are said to benefit the Russian government. Their main target were usually government organizations, health care institutions, and prominent diplomats and personalities. They became infamous in 2016 for their successful penetration of the Democratic National Committee, wherein their affiliation with the Russian government has been confirmed. Due to Russia’s alleged mischief, a recent campaign was launched and led mostly by US government officials to call out creating a centralized cybercommunity office to indict Russia for condoning such widespread illegal cybercrime on their country causes many countries in a predicament.

In line with this, the UK, through its centralized agency – Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has recently launched and publicized that they are now doing countermeasure in battling the perpetrator. Indicators of compromise have been seen that the adversary is trying to penetrate the research facilities that the UK government is closely monitoring. For this, additional security measures have been imposed on the research facility to ensure the confidentiality of research results and other significant developments are safe. They confirmed that they are using a customized tool that they have engineered to counter the attack. According to the speculation, the agency’s tool to battle the current attack was the same as the one that they are using in reconnaissance to the attack perpetrated by adversaries from Islamic countries. The GCHQ did not confirm or deny the allegation that they have such operations against the latter countries.

 

Moreover, the agency confirmed that they also attempt to remove any false publicity on social media regarding Covid-19 vaccine development – like posts from anti-vaxxers.

 

However, they have confirmed that the security task is not that easy as other social media platforms have their policy, and posts that have been recently taken down immediately resurface. The said difficulty is that most adversaries they are battling against are state-sponsored. They are fully equipped and financed for the technology needed to perform their malicious task. Hence, the agency confirmed that they are also doing alternatives to properly observe and derange any malicious activity from these threat actors.

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