United Kingdom minister: Russian Federation cyberattacks actions of a 'pariah state'

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives in Downing Street

Image Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accuses Russia's GRU of 'reckless and indiscriminate acts'

Following Thursday's report from Dutch and British authorities of a thwarted hacking attack involving four Russian nationals alleged to be officers in Russia's Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (GRU) cyber warfare unit, investigative news site Bellingcat and The Insider, a Russian crowdfunded news organization, used the names of the alleged perpetrators to identify 305 other potential GRU agents.

"Today we are indicting seven GRU officers for multiple felonies each, including the use of hacking to spread the personal information of hundreds of anti-doping officials and athletes as part of an effort to distract from Russia's state-sponsored doping program".

British authorities say that in March, immediately after the nerve agent attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, the GRU tried to hack into Foreign Office computer systems via a phishing attack.

But British government sources said the NCSC has assessed with "high confidence" that the GRU was "almost certainly" behind the DNC hack that some Hillary Clinton supporters claimed helped tip the USA election in Donald Trump's favour.

Dutch agents decided not to arrest four Russians accused of plotting a cyber-attack on the world's chemical weapons watchdog because it was "not a criminal inquiry", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday.

The Russians 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.

The British ambassador to the Netherlands said that the men caught with spy gear outside The Hague-based OPCW, for example, were from the very same GRU section (Unit 26165) accused by American investigators of having broken into the Democratic National Committee's email and sowing havoc during the 2016 United States presidential election.

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

Here is a summary of the GRU's activities, according to western intelligence agencies.

London has said GRU officers were behind the March attack on Skripal, which also poisoned his daughter, Yulia.

The indictment alleges the GRU officers used spearphishing emails, fictitious personas and researched their victims.

While the latest case did not arise from US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling, it overlaps with it.

The attack on the OPCW took place in May 2018 at the time the organization was working to independently verify the UK's analysis of the chemical used in the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury.

"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".

Britain's ambassador to the Netherlands, Peter Wilson, said the GRU would no longer be allowed to act with impunity.

The EU officials said that they deplored such actions that undermined worldwide law and global institutions.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, at a news conference in the Belgian capital, said Russian Federation must pay a price, and a number of response options were available.

Canada confirmed Thursday it believes itself to have been targeted by Russian cyber attacks, citing breaches at its centre for ethics in sports and at the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The Russian embassy in London said the UK's statement was "reckless" and part of an "anti-Russian campaign by the United Kingdom government".

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".

Pompeo to meet Kim Jong Un in fresh visit
Elon Musk’s SEC twitter taunts may backfire