Russia Warns Against 'Dangerous' Hacking Allegations That 'Incite Tensions'

Russia Warns Against 'Dangerous' Hacking Allegations That 'Incite Tensions'

Russia Warns Against 'Dangerous' Hacking Allegations That 'Incite Tensions'

The US Justice Department indicted seven agents of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency as part of a joint crackdown with allies Britain and the Netherlands on a series of major hacking plots attributed to Moscow.

Russian spies targeted Britain's Foreign Office, computers at Porton Down and the chemical weapons watchdog, officials have said.

Major-general Eichelsheim said the government had taken the unusual step of releasing details of the operation after United States officials published charges against a number of Russian intelligence agents on Thursday.

The head of Dutch counterintelligence confirmed that the OPCW was working on the Skripal investigation at the time but added that investigators "have not been able to prove that they targeted the OPCW because of the Skripal investigation".

Russian military hackers targeted employees of Cranberry's Westinghouse Electric Corp. four years ago as part of an expansive influence and disinformation campaign serving their country's government, US law enforcement agencies announced Thursday.

The stunning revelations included details about Russian alleged attempts to target everything from the global chemical weapons watchdog to anti-doping agencies, and a probe into the downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. Some of their mobile phones were also activated in Moscow near the agency's headquarters.

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The Dutch authorities released CCTV imagery of the four men arriving at Schipol Airport as well photographs of their passports.

The United States has sanctioned GRU officers for attempting to interfere in the 2016 US election and other cyber attacks.

But its brazen nature and the GRU's decision to resort to a so-called "close access" hacking method says a lot about the motivation behind it and may smack of desperation.

He said Russia's actions against the Netherlands-based OPCW came as the agency was conducting an independent analysis of the nerve agent used against the Skripals.

"The GRU can only succeed in the shadows".

"The government of Canada assesses with high confidence that the Russian military's intelligence arm, the GRU, was responsible" for these cyber attacks, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

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A new report by the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) claims that the Kremlin was behind a Fancy Bears' cyberattack on WADA in 2016, which led to a leak of confidential medical athlete data regarding Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs). Officials said the men were expelled from the country following the alleged cyber attack.

While not directly related to the ongoing investigation into suspected Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, John Demers, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ's national security division, said during a press conference Thursday that three of the named defendants were previously charged in connection with that probe. "It helps all around the world for people to be aware that there is this Russian military intelligence agency out there working against our interests". "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.

The events have a connection to Canada, the statement said, pointing to the 2016 attack on the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, at a news conference in the Belgian capital, said Russian Federation must pay a price, and a number of response options were available.

He said that "Russia must stop its reckless pattern of behavior, including the use of force against its neighbors, attempted interference in election processes, and widespread disinformation campaigns".

United Kingdom investigators have also formally linked the attack on the Skripals to the June 30 poisoning of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, a couple living in Amesbury, near Salisbury.

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The OPCW is the world's foremost chemical weapons watchdog, and in June granted itself new powers to assign blame for attacks despite protests by Russian Federation.

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