Foreign states ‘constantly’ trying to steal UK’s secrets, says minister

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Foreign states are “constantly” seeking to steal Britain’s commercial and scientific secrets, security minister Damian Hinds said on Monday.

He stressed that spying threats against the UK were now “more sophisticated, more extensive than ever before”.

Mr Hinds was asked on LBC Radio about a claim in The Sun that British security chiefs believe Russia stole the formula for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

He responded: “I can’t comment specifically but it’s fair for your listeners to assume that constantly there are foreign states who would like to get their hands on sensitive information, including sometimes commercial secrets, sometimes scientific, intellectual property, constantly trying to get hold of it and in the cyber space that is done in a very different way from how things use to happen and we need to be exceptionally vigilant towards it.”

In July 2020, Britain said a cyber group linked to Russian intelligence was targeting Covid-19 vaccine research in the West.

A report by the National Cyber Security Centre said: “Throughout 2020, APT29 has targeted various organisations involved in Covid-19 vaccine development in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, highly likely with the intention of stealing information and intellectual property relating to the development and testing of Covid-19 vaccines.”

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