UK accuses Russia’s military intelligence of cyber attacks

London: The UK government has accused Russia’s military intelligence service of being behind four high-profile cyber attacks, a media report said on Thursday.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) late Wednesday said that hackers from the GRU or Russian intelligence, operating under a dozen different names, including Fancy Bear, targeted the systems database of the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), using phishing to gain passwords. A group accessed athletes’ data, which was later published, the BBC reported.

They also hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016, when emails and chats were obtained and subsequently published online. The US authorities have already linked this to Russia.

The hackers then targeted Ukraine’s Kyiv metro and Odessa airport, Russia’s central bank, and two privately-owned Russian media outlets – Fontanka.ru and news agency Interfax – in October 2017. They used ransomware to encrypt the contents of a computer and demand payment

Another target was an unnamed small UK-based TV station between July and August 2015, when multiple email accounts were accessed and content stolen

The NCSC said it has assessed “with high confidence” that GRU was “almost certainly responsible” for the attacks.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the GRU had waged a campaign of “indiscriminate and reckless” cyber strikes that served “no legitimate national security interest”.

“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,” the BBC quoted Hunt as saying.

“Our message is clear: together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU’s attempts to undermine international stability.”

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