Disinfo: It is speculation to say that cyberattacks against vaccine producers originated in Russia

Summary

The news of cyberattacks originating from Russia against companies developing a Coronavirus vaccine is just speculation, determined by the political trend, and Moscow regrets that it has become customary in the United States to blame Russia for everything.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying any involvement of the Russian government in hacker attacks and cyber-crime.

Cyberattacks in recent months originating in Russia and North Korea have targeted online accounts at seven companies researching Covid-19 drugs and vaccines, according to Microsoft.

The cyberattacks originating in Russia have targeted the drug companies’ online accounts by training millions of rapid-fire login attempts at their computer systems, hoping to get lucky and guess their way into a victim’s account.

According to Microsoft, the Russian-linked hacking group behind these latest cyberattacks is called "Strontium" AKA “APT 28”, AKA “Sednit”, AKA “Sofacy”, AKA “Fancy Bear”, the majority of this group's attacks during the last years were detected and stopped by security tools built into Microsoft products.

The U.S. government says the group is linked to Russian military intelligence, while Microsoft points out that this group, who has been active since at least 2007, is connected to a series of cyberattacks on U.S. and NATO and European targets. Additional targets have included journalists, political advisors, and organisations associated with political activism in Central Asia, and anti-doping organisations.

Read similar cases claiming that cyberattacks against Georgia didn’t originate from Russia, or that accusations about Russian-sponsored hacker attacks aim to discredit Russia’s anti-COVID vaccine, or that accusations against Russia’ 2018 cyber-attacks OPCW are groundless.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 220
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, vaccination, Fancy Bear, Internet, Cyber, Encircling Russia, Anti-Russian, Russophobia

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Navalny’s wife: a slimming diet caused Alexei‘s illness

Yulia Navalny, the wife of blogger Alexei Navalny, told Russian doctors that her husband’s condition had deteriorated, possibly due to a slimming diet … Her husband reduced the amount of food he ate and even deprived himself of some elements, and within 3-5 days he had a metabolic disorder after eating. His eating was inconsistent.

His wife also indicated that Navalny adopted this diet with the aim of losing weight, which could be the cause of the metabolic disorder.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation message on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

Alexei Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya denied these allegations in an Instagram post saying: "don't believe a single word of it”, noting that they are meant to “evade responsibility”.

Navalny might have been poisoned in Germany

Moscow cannot rule out the narrative that [Alexei] Navalny was poisoned with a chemical substance in Germany, or on the plane that took him to Berlin.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by trying to portray it as entirely unconnected to Russia and denying Russia's well-documented role in the use of Novichok.

Russian chemist Dr. Vil Mirzayanov said that Novichok production was only refined in the U.S.S.R. and Russia and that Russia had to be behind previous attacks because it “is the country that invented it, has the experience, turned it into a weapon... has fully mastered the cycle.” An investigation by Bellingcat has discovered evidence that Russia continued its Novichok development programme long beyond the officially announced closure date.

Germany has no evidence that Navalny was poisoned 

Germany had claimed that [Alexei] Navalny had been subjected to a poisoning attempt with the nerve agent “Novichok” .. Berlin had not relied on any evidence, prompting Moscow to describe the incident as a charade aimed at justifying the imposition of new sanctions on it.

Moscow says it cannot investigate the Navalny accident in the absence of data from Germany.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative surrounding the poisoning of a prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. Initially hospitalised in Omsk, at the request of his family he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin, where clinical findings indicated that he was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny.