Russian Cyber Unit Accused Of Attacking OPCW Chemical Weapons Watchdog

Russian Cyber Unit Accused Of Attacking OPCW Chemical Weapons Watchdog

Russian Cyber Unit Accused Of Attacking OPCW Chemical Weapons Watchdog

The United States Department of Justice has charged Russian military intelligence officers with worldwide hacking offences.

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. They are all GRU officers.

The government alleges that Aleksei Sergeyevich Morenets, Evgenii Mikhaylovich Serebriakov, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Artem Andreveyich Malyshev, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Oleg Mikhaylovich Sotnikov and Alexey Valerevich Minin are members of the Russian intelligence agency and hacked into computer networks used by anti-doping and sporting officials, as well as groups investigating Russia's alleged use of chemical weapons.

In a joint statement, Theresa May and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said the GRU had been "exposed" along with its "unacceptable cyber activities".

Specialized equipment was found operating in a rental vehicle that was parked near the OPCW's building in The Hague.

At the presentation, Major General Eichelsheim showed the antennae, laptops and other equipment he said the men meant to use to breach the OPCW's wifi network.

Investigations found the Russians had originally taken a taxi from GRU barracks in Moscow to the airport, for which Dutch agents later found a receipt from their hotel. One of the phones had been activated close to the special services centre in Moscow.

"They were clearly not here on holiday", the head of the Dutch intelligence service said on Thursday.

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.

It also revealed that the agents had also made searches for the OPCW-affiliated Spiez laboratory in Switzerland - which the Swiss last month said had been targeted by Russian Federation.

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A briefing in The Hague was shown pictures of each of the men's passports. "If we could get our hands on these folks some day, we would have no problem bringing them to justice".

Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division, John Demers, said that these hackers were caught "red-handed" in a "conspiracy to hack a variety of individuals and organizations in the United States, Canada and Europe" with the goal of distorting the public's perception of truth.

In 2016, the GRU hacked drug-test results from a World Anti-Doping Agency data and posted confidential information about US Olympic athletes including tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams and gold medal gymnast Simone Biles.

The latest developments comes after Britain accused the Russian military intelligence agency of a spate of cyber attacks, from the hack against the 2016 U.S. elections to the leaking of top athletes' medical records.

The GRU, the British report said, was nearly certainly behind the "BadRabbit" ransomware attack a year ago that targeted a Ukrainian global airport and Russian media outlets, as well as the hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency in Switzerland.

The NCSC linked the GRU with a number of hackers, including APT 28, Fancy Bear, Sofacy, Pawnstorm, Sednit, CyberCaliphate, Cyber Berkut, Voodoo Bear and BlackEnergy Actors.

British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson called Russian Federation a "pariah state" that conducts "reckless and indiscriminate" attacks that have isolated Moscow from the rest of the world.

But Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the new accusations, calling them "big fantasies".

London has also accused two of GRU's officers of poisoning former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British city of Salisbury in March, using a perfume bottle containing a powerful nerve agent.

"Western spy mania is gathering pace", a Russian foreign ministry representative told AFP.

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