United Kingdom says Russian Federation was behind 4 major cyber-attacks on Western democracies

Howard TerryOct 05, 2018

The U.S. Justice Department has indicted seven Russian military intelligence officers for their alleged involvement in a series of cyber-attacks aimed at spreading misinformation to Russia's advantage.

They've been charged with offences including computer hacking, wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering.

It cites attacks on the World Anti-Doping Agency, Ukrainian transport systems, the 2016 US presidential race and others as very likely the work of the GRU.

The alleged activities were part of a broad campaign that ran from December 2014 until at least May 2018 and targeted American citizens, USA corporations and worldwide organizations based on their strategic interest to the Russian government, officials said.

"These are Russian military officers", Demers said at a news conference Thursday. They were carrying €20,000 and U.S. $20,000 in cash, took their rubbish from their hotel room when they left and tried to destroy their mobile phones when they were intercepted. "These defendants must be held accountable for their crimes". The US is especially concerned about hackers interfering with November's midterm elections.

They were caught trying hack into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' WiFi network by parking outside its headquarters with a cache of high-tech equipment inside the boot.

In the indictment, prosecutors alleged that one of the Russian officers, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, performed "technical reconnaissance" of the company as early as November 20, 2014, and got access to IP addresses, domains and network ports.

In May 2014, the Justice Department indicted five Chinese military hackers who targeted USA -based nuclear power, metals and solar sectors.

The victims included about 250 athletes from 30 countries, along with anti-doping agencies around the world.

Fancy Bear is a nickname for a GRU hacking group.

The British ambassador to the Netherlands said men caught with spy gear outside OPCW, for example, were from the same GRU section (Unit 26165) accused by American investigators of having broken into the Democratic National Committee's email during the 2016 US presidential election.

Over the summer, a security company hired by the Democratic National Convention tells the DNC that they have been successfully infiltrated by hackers for more than year.

"The GRU's actions are reckless and indiscriminate: They try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries; they are even prepared to damage Russian companies and Russian citizens", Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement.

Efforts to penetrate its networks started in late 2014, some nine months after Ukraine's pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power during the Ukrainian Revolution.

Eichelsheim said the four Russians were "clearly not here on holiday".

Russian agents allegedly hacked into the website of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest court in world sports, during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The disclosure that athlete Bradley Wiggins received permission to take a banned substance before races to treat asthma sparked controversy in British cycling. Maybe a Nina Ricci bottle.

The UK government believes that the Kremlin was ultimately responsible for the GRU hacks.

"Cyber attacks orchestrated by the GRU have attempted to undermine global sporting institution WADA, disrupt transport systems in Ukraine, destabilise democracies and target businesses", said UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

United Kingdom investigative website Bellingcat last week claimed to have identified one of the two suspects as a highly decorated officer in the Russian military. That report singled him out as a highly decorated Russian intelligence colonel.

"The attempt to compromise the networks of the OPCW is consistent with Russia's broader attacks on the independence and professionalism of the personnel of the OPCW".

The Russian Foreign Ministry on October 4 described the accusations as "fantasy", as British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson condemned Russia as a "pariah state" whose "reckless and indiscriminate" attacks had left it isolated in the global community.

Officials have previously said other cyber actors include CyberCaliphate, Pawnstorm, Voodoo Bear and Tsar Team.

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