United Kingdom says Russian Federation was behind 4 major cyber-attacks on Western democracies

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives in Downing Street

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives in Downing Street

At the time the Russian operation was disrupted, the OPCW was investigating the Skripal case as well as an alleged chemical attack in April on the Syrian town of Douma near Damascus by Russian-backed government forces, the MIVD said.

Britain and Australia on Thursday blamed Russia's military intelligence service for some of the biggest cyber attacks of recent years - including one on the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 United States presidential campaign.

Hours later Thursday morning, Dutch defence officials broadcast photos and a timeline of GRU agents' botched attempt to break into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons using Wi-Fi hacking equipment hidden in the back of a sedan.

The OPCW has been probing the chemical attack on a Russian ex-spy in the UK.

His remarks came after British and Australian officials said the Russian military intelligence unit GRU is behind a wave of global cybercrimes.

The Justice Department on Thursday announced criminal charges against seven Russian intelligence officers, accusing them in a sprawling indictment of hacking, wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering as part of an effort to distract from Russia's state-sponsored doping program. "How we respond is a political decision by the nations involved", Mattis said after a meeting with his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation counterparts, although he said there would not necessarily be a "tit-for-tat" response by the West. Between 2016 and 2018 they also exchanged emails and private messages with some 186 reporters "in an apparent attempt to amplify the exposure and effect of their message", the Justice Department said in a news release. Its old acronym - GRU - is still more widely used.It has agents across the globe and answers directly to the chief of the general staff and the Russian defense minister.

The accusations were levelled nearly simultaneously by the U.S., the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Canada - and included charges about alleged attacks on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Anti-Doping Agency, among others.

The indictment says the hacking was often conducted remotely.

They were disrupted while an attempt was made at a "close access hack operation" at around 4.30pm on Friday.

And now, the United Kingdom and the Dutch governments have revealed a huge amount of new intelligence about how the GRU has been operating across the world, namely its attempts to hack the OPCW chemical weapons inspectors' headquarters in the Hague, the computers of the Foreign Office in London and the work of the Porton Down military laboratories in Wiltshire.

Britain's Foreign Office on Thursday said that Russian military intelligence was behind six separate cyber attacks between mid-2015 and October 2017.

Alexei Morenetz and Yevgeny Serebriakov were described by officials as "cyberoperators".

Officials said it was hard to say what the "full intention" of the agents were, but it was suggested that disrupting the investigation into the chemical weapons attacks in Salisbury and Syria "could well have been their motivation". That attack left four people fighting for their lives and one woman dead.

And in a chilling note, one of the officers, Wilson added, had "also conducted malign activity in Malaysia", in an operation that targeted the inquiry into Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the airliner that crashed in eastern Ukraine after being hit by a missile. Russian Federation has repeatedly denied the charges.

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre has identified cyber-attacks against WADA, which recently reinstated Russia's anti-doping body RUSADA to widespread criticism.

Prime minister Mark Rutte issued a joint statement with his British counterpart Theresa May earlier in the day condemning Russia's 'disregard for global values'.

"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.

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