UK, Australia blame Russia for series of global cyberattacks | News | DW | 04.10.2018
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UK, Australia blame Russia for series of global cyberattacks

The UK and Australia have accused a Russian intelligence agency of "indiscriminate and reckless" attacks on digital networks around the world, targeting everything from transport to the US presidential election.

Britain has said Russia's military intelligence agency GRU was "almost certainly" behind a campaign of online attacks targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport bodies around the world.

Attacks the UK has linked to Moscow include the 2017 BadRabbit ransomware attack that targeted an airport in Odessa and the Kyiv subway system, as well as media outlets in Russia, and the attempted hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2017 in Switzerland.

Read more: Hack of German Foreign Ministry part of 'everyday spying'

Other incidents include the hack of the US Democratic National Committee in 2016 and the theft of emails from a UK-based TV station in 2015.

The British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) also identified numerous hacking groups, including APT28, Pawn Storm, Sandworm, Fancy Bear and the Sofacy Group, as being associated with the GRU.

'Not the Wild West'

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that intelligence services in Canberra had also discovered evidence of "malicious cyber activity" orchestrated by Moscow.

"The Russian military, and their intelligence arm 'the GRU', is responsible for this pattern of malicious cyber activity," the government said in a statement. "Cyberspace is not the Wild West. The international community — including Russia — has agreed that international law and norms of responsible state behavior apply in cyberspace."

Read more: Cybersecurity: Why it's 'hard to protect yourself' online

'Reckless and indiscriminate' behavior

"This pattern of behavior demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences," UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Thursday in a statement.

"The GRU's actions are reckless and indiscriminate," he said. "They try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries; they are even prepared to damage Russian companies and Russian citizens," adding the attacks had caused millions of British pounds in damage to national economies.

"Our message is clear — together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU's attempts to undermine international stability."

Tensions between the UK and Russia have been high since the poisoning of retired double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier this year. The ex-military officer had been selling secrets to the British MI6 while working for the GRU.

In September, the UK said two GRU operatives were behind the attack on Skripal, and released photographs and alleged aliases of the two men. Russia has denied any involvement.

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dj,es/ng (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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