Russian attempts to steal vaccine data unacceptable but have not done damage: UK security minister

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Secretary of State for Housing James Brokenshire arrives for the announcement of Britain's next Prime Minister at The Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, Britain July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Attempts by Russian-backed hackers to steal COVID-19 vaccine research from Britain are “completely unacceptable” but have not done any damage, security minister James Brokenshire said on Friday.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said on Thursday that hackers backed by the Russian state had tried to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world. Russia has rejected London’s allegations.

“It’s completely unacceptable for the Russian intelligence agencies to seek to get into the systems of those who are seeking to respond to this crisis ... to develop a vaccine,” Brokenshire told Sky News.

“There’s no evidence or information of any damage or, or any sort of harm.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout and Michael Holden; editing by Sarah Young