Australia joins United Kingdom in condemning Russian Federation for wave of 'malicious' cyber attacks

04 October, 2018, 19:09 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Main building of the OPCW in The Hague

GRU operatives are also said to be behind the attempted hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency in Switzerland previous year.

At this point the Dutch counter-terrorism officers intervened to disrupt the operation and the four GRU officers were ordered to leave the country.

Hacking equipment belonging to four Russian officers of GRU, is seen on April 13, 2018.

Whether this is enough to stop the escalation of cyber attacks (the United States recently said it would hack back at attackers) remains to be seen.

The cascade of condemnation - from the Australian, British and Dutch governments - does more than just point the finger at Moscow.

Ms Bijleveld also called on Russian Federation to cease its cyber activities aimed at "undermining" Western democracies.

It came as Britain continues to investigate Russian Federation for what Downing Street said was its poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March. The activities in Malaysia were related to the investigation into the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine, Bijleveld added.

A laptop that was confiscated from the officers held a trove of information about their past activities, including a record of connecting to a WiFi network at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, in September of 2016, as the World Anti-Doping Agency was holding a conference at the hotel.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denies the latest allegations of Russian hacking attempts.

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said Thursday that "where Russian Federation acts in an indiscriminate and reckless way, where they have done in terms of these cyberattacks, we will be exposing them".

UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said Russian military intelligence (GRU) used a network of hackers to undermine administrations.

The United States indicted seven suspected Russian agents for conspiring to hack computers and steal data to delegitimise global anti-doping organisations and punish officials who had revealed a Russian state-sponsored athlete doping programme.

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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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly and angrily rejected similar charges.

Britain's ambassador to the Netherlands, Peter Wilson, said the GRU would no longer be allowed to act with impunity. "The International Community - including Russian Federation - has agreed that international law and norms of responsible state behaviour apply in cyberspace", Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Britain says the nerve agent was Novichok, produced in the Soviet Union, a finding later confirmed by the chemical weapons watchdog.

Earlier, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson branded a series of global cyber attacks blamed on Russian Federation as the reckless actions of a "pariah state", saying that Britain and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies would uncover such activities in the future.

"Where Russia acts in an indiscriminate and reckless way, where they have done in terms of these cyberattacks, we will be exposing them", Williamson told reporters in Brussels at talks with U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and their North Atlantic Treaty Organisation counterparts.

Britain's National Cyber Security Center says four new attacks are associated with the GRU as well as earlier cyberattacks.

The United States has sanctioned GRU officers including its chief, Igor Korobov, in 2016 and 2018 for attempted interference in the 2016 us election and cyber attacks.

"We are going to actually make it clear that where Russian Federation acts, we are going to be exposing that action", Williamson said.

"This is not the actions of a great power; this is the actions of a pariah state", British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said during a visit to Brussels. "This is the actions of a pariah state, and we will continue working with allies to isolate them; make them understand they can not continue to conduct themselves in such a way", he said.

"Cyberspace is not the Wild West", Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a joint statement.

He said that while Australia has not been significantly impacted by the attacks, they caused significant and indiscriminate harm elsewhere, causing millions of dollars in economic damage.

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