GCSB links Russian govt to campaign of cyber attacks

04 October, 2018, 19:08 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Main building of the OPCW in The Hague

Dutch Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld, general Onno Eichelsheim, director of Netherlands Defence Intelligence and Security Service and British Ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Wilson attend a news conference in The Hague, Netherlands, October 4, 2018.

According to the indictment, all seven defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian Federation intelligence agency within the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian military.

The indictment says the hacking was often conducted remotely.

Seven GRU officers allegedly hacked 250 athletes from 30 countries and antidoping organizations, as well as a U.S. nuclear power company and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague.

The GRU, now officially known in Russian Federation by a shorter acronym GU, is also the agency Britain has blamed in the past for sending two agents to England to poison former spy Sergei Skripal with a chemical weapon sprayed in his door.

The UK has blamed Russian military intelligence for a string of cyber attacks, the latest in a series of public moves aimed at deterring any more attacks. "These acts form part of a broader pattern of activities by the Russian government that lie well outside the bounds of appropriate behaviour, demonstrate a disregard for worldwide law and undermine the rules-based worldwide order", said Global Affairs Canada in a statement.

Describing the Russian operation as "very worrying", Bijleveld-Schouten said the four men were expelled on April 13, the same day the plot was detected.

"We want the hundreds of victims of these Russian hackers to know that we will do everything we can to hold these criminals accountable for their crimes", said Scott Brady, US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, where the grand jury indicted the Russians.

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said Thursday that "where Russian Federation acts in an indiscriminate and reckless way, where they have done in terms of these cyberattacks, we will be exposing them".

The OPCW has been investigating the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK.

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the new accusations Thursday, calling them "big fantasies".

The British and Dutch accusations were unveiled as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense ministers gathered in Brussels to present a united front to their Cold War-era foe.

"They were clearly not here on holiday", the head of the Dutch intelligence service said on Thursday.

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre has identified cyber-attacks against WADA, which recently reinstated Russia's anti-doping body RUSADA to widespread criticism.

It also concluded that the GRU was behind hacks and leaks of U.S. Democratic National Committee e-mails that embarrassed President Donald Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton in the weeks before the 2016 election, among other high-profile and damaging attacks.

In a rare moment of complete agreement for the US' two biggest intelligence agencies, both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and CIA come to the conclusion that the Russian Federation government sought to influence the U.S. election by promoting unfavorable coverage of Hillary Clinton.

"This is not the actions of a great power, this is the actions of a pariah state and we'll continue working with allies to isolate, make them understand they can not continue to conduct themselves in such a way", Williamson told reporters in Brussels.

"This is not the actions of a great power, these are the actions of a pariah state", British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told reporters.

In a joint statement Theresa May and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said: "We have, with the operations exposed today, further shone a light on the unacceptable cyber activities of the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU". They said Australia wasn't significantly impacted, but the cyberattacks caused economic damage and disrupted civilian infrastructure in other places.

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