British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt accuses Russia of operating “disregarding international law”.
New stage in the tensions between London and Moscow. British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt accuses Russian military intelligence (GRU) of conducting cyberattacks against political and sports institutions, companies and media around the world.
This type of behavior demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms, and to act with a feeling of impunity and without considering the consequences.
-Jeremy Hunt, British Minister for Foreign Affairs in a statement
“Our message is clear,” said the minister, “together with our allies, we will reveal and respond to the GRU’s attempts to undermine international stability.”
London evokes “lawless” attacks
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) was able to determine that the GRU was hiding behind several attacks committed around the world by known cyberassailers. These “random and lawless” cyberattacks have “affected citizens in many countries, (…) and cost the national economies millions of pounds,” he added.
Among the attacks identified by the NCSC include that of the US Democratic Party, a prelude to the scandal of Russian interference in the US presidential election of 2016, and for which the GRU had already been accused by Washington. There are also leaks of confidential documents resulting from the hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) database or the computer attack on the Odessa airport in Ukraine.
Moscow associated with groups of pirates?
According to a British government source, the GRU is associated with several names of groups of known hackers, and often presented as close to the Russian authorities, such as Fancy Bear, Sandworm, Strontium, APT 28, CyberCaliphate, Sofacy, BlackEnergy Actors, different names that sometimes designate a single entity.
“Given the high level of trust of [this] assessment and the context, the British government believes that the Russian government – the Kremlin – is responsible,” added the source. These accusations come in a context already tense by the poisoning of the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Iouli in England.
Australia also joined London in denouncing Russian cyber attacks as unacceptable. “The Russian army and its intelligence arm, the GRU, is responsible for this malicious cyberactivity,” said the Australian government, based on investigations conducted by Australian intelligence agencies.