Saturday, 17 November, 2018


UK, Netherlands accuse Russian Federation of hacking, including chemical weapons watchdog

Logo for Russia's GRU intelligence agency Image The GRUis Russia's largest foreign intelligence agency
Bennie Garza | 06 October, 2018, 04:27

Moscow has angrily dismissed the allegations - saying they were part of the West's "spy mania".

The Netherlands has accused four Russians of plotting to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which had been probing the chemical attack on a Russian ex-spy in the UK.

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.

In a joint statement, Theresa May and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte condemned the "unacceptable cyber activities" of the GRU and vowed to work to uphold the "rules-based worldwide system".

Two of the officers were planning to travel on to Switzerland where the OPCW - which was at the time investigating the Salisbury attack and a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria - has laboratories.

LONDON-The British government has accused Russian military intelligence of being behind four cyber attacks aimed at spreading confusion and disinformation.

The cyber attacks were revealed in an unprecedented fight back by the Dutch, British and U.S. authorities who outed four GRU spies detained in The Hague this year.

The Dutch and British blamed Russia's GRU for "brazen" activities across the globe and for trying to cover up Russia's alleged participation in the nerve agent poisoning in March of Skripal and his daughter, and the downing of MH17 over Ukraine that killing all 298 people on board during a period of intense fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels.

The Russians then on April 13 set up in the Marriott Hotel next door to the OPCW and took photos, while parking the vehicle at the hotel with the boot facing the OPCW, he said. Australia, New Zealand and Canada were among other countries to issue strongly worded statements backing their allies' findings.

"We want the hundreds of victims of these Russian hackers to know that we will do everything we can to hold these criminals accountable for their crimes", said Scott Brady, US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, where the grand jury indicted the Russians.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, speaking about the British and Australian claims, said that the allegations had been mixed together "indiscriminately".

Russian spies have been accused of involvement in a series of cyber-plots across the globe, leading the United States to level charges against seven agents.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Thursday the "behaviour of the Russians.is absolutely unacceptable".

They were named in them as Alekski Morenets and Evgenii Serebriakov, described as a cyber operators, and Oleg Soktnikov and Alexey Minin, who were said to have provided "humint (human intelligence) support".

"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", Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement. The Magnitsky Act is a law passed in 2012 to punish Russian officials linked to the death of anti-corruption activist Sergei Magnitsky and is a major irritant to the Russian government. "We intercepted it and expelled the four men from the country".

Russian Federation plotted a cyber-attack on the global chemical weapons watchdog but it was foiled by the Dutch security services, officials say.

All were said to be part of Unit 26165, also known as "GRU 85 Main Special Service Centre".

"The attempt to compromise the networks of the OPCW is consistent with Russia's broader attacks on the independence and professionalism of the personnel of the OPCW".

Investigative journalists said last month they'd learned the true identity of one of the Russian suspects accused in the poisoning.

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