Russian intel officers indicted for hacking anti-doping agencies

Russian intel officers indicted for hacking anti-doping agencies

The US Justice Department has charged seven Russian military intelligence officers with hacking anti-doping agencies and other organisations.

The Russians set up a auto full of electronic equipment in the vehicle park of a hotel next to the Organisation for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons in The Hague in a bid to hack into its computer system, it said.

US Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division John Demers listens during a press conference to announce an indictment charging seven Russian military officers with malicious cyber activities against the USA and its allies at the Department of Justice in Washington.

Russia scathingly accused the West of "spy mania", while Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly and angrily rejected similar charges.

The GRU was nearly certainly behind those attacks, Britain said, as well as attacks on Ukraine's Kyiv metro and Odessa airport, Russia's central bank, two Russian media outlets, and an unidentified small UK-based television station.

"The OPCW takes very seriously the security of its information systems and networks", it said.

He said the hackers were planning to travel on to the OPCW-certified laboratory in Spiez near Berne in Switzerland, where the Novichok nerve agent used in March's attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British city of Salisbury was identified.

The OPCW was at the time probing the nerve agent poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain and an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma by the Moscow-backed regime in Damascus.

The British ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Wilson also revealed how one of the agents allegedly attempted to disrupt the investigation into Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), which was shot down in 2014.

According to a presentation by the head of the Netherlands' military intelligence agency, four Russians arrived in the Netherlands on April 10 and were caught with spying equipment at a hotel located next to the OPCW headquarters.

"International law enforcement are collaborating on this", Flynn said, adding that a parallel investigation pertaining to Canadian victims is ongoing in Canada.

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.

Apparently unsuccessful in the effort from afar, two of the GRU spies flew to Rio to hack the Wi-Fi networks used by anti-doping officials in their hotels and elsewhere, officials said.

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

The GRU hackers are part of a group known as Fancy Bear.

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.

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.

"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 Mattis and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials.

John Demers, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security, confirmed that known attack targets included the OPCW, sports bodies including Federation Internationale de Football Association and the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), as well as U.S. nuclear energy company Westinghouse. The U.K.in September charged two Russian nationals over that gas attack, which both Skripal and his daughter survived. "The global community-including Russia-has agreed that worldwide law and norms of responsible state behavior apply in cyberspace", Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary-General, vowed to strengthen the alliance's defences against attacks on computer networks.

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