Britain and Australia on Thursday accused the Russian military intelligence of being responsible for a host of global cyber-attacks targeting targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport bodies, reported AFP.
“The GRU’s [Russian military intelligence] actions are reckless and indiscriminate: they try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries,” said British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. “Our message is clear – together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU’s attempts to undermine international stability.”
Hunt also said that attacks had been undertaken with the consent and knowledge of the Russian government, according to The Guardian.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country’s intelligence agencies in consultation with international allies had determined that the GRU was responsible for a “pattern of malicious cyber activity”, according to ABC News. “By embarking on a pattern of malicious cyber behaviour, Russia has shown a total disregard for the agreements it helped to negotiate,” Morrison said, adding that it caused “significant, indiscriminate harm to civilian infrastructure”.
The United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre said hackers from the GRU targeted the systems database of the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency, the US Democratic National Committee in 2016, Ukraine’s Kiev metro and Odessa airport, Russia’s central bank, two privately-owned Russian media outlets, and a UK-based TV station, BBC reported.
The National Cyber Security Centre said it has assessed “with high confidence” that the GRU was “almost certainly responsible” for the cyber attacks.
Hunt said this demonstrated the Russian military intelligence agency’s “desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences”.
In September, British Prime Minister Theresa May said officers from the Russian military intelligence used a nerve agent to try and kill former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March.