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UK says Russian spy agency behind 'reckless' cyberattacks

GRU orchestrated hacks on Democratic National Committee and World Anti-Doping Agency, says UK foreign secretary.

Russian Hacker
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Britain has accused Russian military intelligence of orchestrating a host of cyberattacks intended to sow political discontent in several Western countries.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Wednesday that Britain's National Cyber Security Centre has concluded that the Russian intelligence agency GRU was behind the 2016 hacks of the US Democratic National Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"The GRU's actions are reckless and indiscriminate: they try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries," Hunt said. He went on to say that the UK and its allies would "expose and respond to the GRU's attempts to undermine international stability."

The UK's accusations come amid heightened tension between Russia and the US over cybersecurity, and as US officials worry about hackers messing with midterm elections coming up in November. In July, US special counsel Robert Mueller filed charges against 12 Russian hackers tied to DNC cyberattacks. Prosecutors said the hackers' intention was to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Hunt attributed six specific attacks to hacker groups associated with the GRU, including APT 28, Fancy Bear, Sofacy, Pawnstorm, Sednit, CyberCaliphate, Cyber Berkut, Voodoo Bear, BlackEnergy Actors, Strontium, Tsar Team and Sandworm.

Other cyberattacks linked by the UK to the Kremlin include the 2016 Bad Rabbit ransomware attack and the theft of emails from a UK-based TV station in 2015.

"This pattern of behavior demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences," Hunt said.

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