WADA targeted by Russian military intelligence service GRU, says United Kingdom government
05 October, 2018, 23:13 | Author: Myra Gill
Russia's military spy service has been behind a wave of massive cyber attacks in the recent years, with targets ranging from the global chemical weapons watchdog group to the probe into the downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane over Ukraine, officials said Thursday.
The operatives hacked worldwide organizations, US persons, and USA entities, primarily those involved with exposing the Russian state-sponsored athlete doping program in 2014-a reveal which led a number of Russian athletes to be banned from the Olympics and stripped dozens more of their medals.
Dutch authorities said they had disrupted the attempt to hack into the Hague-based OPCW in April, a time when the watchdog was looking into both the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain and chemical strikes in Syria the West has blamed on Russia's ally President Bashar al-Assad.
The team of four GRU officers travelling on official Russian passports entered the Netherlands on April 10 under the codename AP28. "But it seems today that what we're seeing is a coordinated campaign against Russian Federation specifically because the activities that Russian Federation has been engaging in go far beyond what in normal intelligence circles would be regarded as acceptable".
TRT World spoke to Lucy Taylor in Moscow for more details. At the time, the watchdog was probing the poison used to attack ex-spy Sergei Skripal in United Kingdom and chemical weapons that the West says were used in Syria by Russia's ally President Bashar al-Assad.
The GRU's reckless operations stretch from destructive cyber activity to the use of illegal nerve agents, as we saw in Salisbury.
At the same time, Australian and British spies have now endorsed the American intelligence community's reported attribution of the catastrophic June 2017 cyberattack on Ukraine to the GRU.
The EU has also denounced the alleged cyber-plots.
European Union officials said in a statement Russia's "aggressive act demonstrated contempt for the solemn purpose" of the OPCW.
Moscow has issued the latest in a series of denials, but the allegations leveled by Western intelligence agencies, supported by a wealth of surveillance footage and overwhelmingly confirmed by independent reporting, paint a picture of the GRU as an agency that routinely crosses red lines - and is increasingly being caught red-handed.
"In light of the West's heavily hyped-up paranoia around "omnipotent Russian cyber spies" in recent years, who Western politicians say live in "backward Russia" - any citizen of our country with a mobile device is perceived as a spy".
The Dutch said the laptop of another agent, Evgenii Serebriakov, showed he had been active in Malaysia targeting a probe into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 which killed 298 people.
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 actions of these seven hackers, all working as officials for the Russian government, were criminal, retaliatory, and damaging to innocent victims and the United States' economy, as well as to world organizations", said said Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray.
NATO's chief vowed on Thursday to strengthen the alliance's defences against attacks on computer networks that Britain said are directed by Russian military intelligence, also calling on Russia to stop its "reckless" behaviour.
But Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the new accusations on Thursday, calling them "big fantasies". On April 13 they parked a vehicle carrying specialist hacking equipment outside the headquarters of the OPCW in the The Hague.
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