As it happenedended1538672341

Russia cyberattacks - as it happened: GRU accused of targeting Dutch chemical weapons body and Porton Down

GRU also blamed for attacks targeting Foreign Office, MH17 investigation and anti-doping conference

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 04 October 2018 18:00
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Russia cyber attacks: UK ambassador to the Netherlands praises Dutch intelligence services

The Dutch government has said it disrupted an attempt by Russian intelligence agents to hack the international chemical weapons watchdog as it investigated the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Four Russians were expelled from the Netherlands after the plan was uncovered in April.

At the time, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was working to verify the identity of the substance used in the attack against the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia.

It was also seeking to verify the identity of a substance used in a chemical attack in Douma, Syria.

Britain’s defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, branded a series of global cyberattacks blamed on Russia as the reckless actions of a “pariah state,” saying the UK and its Nato allies would uncover such activities in the future.

“Where Russia acts in an indiscriminate and reckless way, where they have done in terms of these cyberattacks, we will be exposing them,” Mr Williamson said at talks in Brussels with the US defence secretary, James Mattis, and their Nato counterparts.

Additional reporting by agencies

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Welcome to the latest updates on the accusations against the Russian intelligence service for attempts to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Porton Down and the MH17 investigation.

Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 12:48
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Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 12:49
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Russia's embassy to London has said Britain's accusations that Russian spies were behind global cyberattacks lacked proof and were part of a crude disinformation campaign.

Britain has accused Russian military intelligence of directing a host of cyberattacks aimed at undermining Western democracies by sowing confusion in everything from sport to transport and the 2016 US presidential election.

"This statement is irresponsible," the embassy said.

"As is traditional, it is not backed by any proof and is another element in an anti-Russian campaign being conducted by the British government."

Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 12:51
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Theresa May has released a joint statement with the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, condemning the Russian military intelligence unit GRU for a series of alleged global cybercrimes. 

The two leaders said they will "defend international institutions from those that seek do to them harm." 

They spoke after officials from both countries blamed the GRU for a series of attacks against the international chemical weapons watchdog and other agencies, including the World Anti-Doping Agency and groups investigating the 2014 Malaysian Airlines crash over Ukraine. 

Ms May and Mr Rutte said the attacks "demonstrate again the GRU's disregard for the global values and rules that keep us all safe." 

Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 13:06
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Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 13:11
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Nato's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has warned Russia to halt its "reckless" behavior amid a series of global cyberattacks blamed on Moscow, and says Nato allies stand united behind the UK and Dutch governments. 

In a statement issued during a meeting of Nato defense ministers, Mr Stoltenberg said "Nato allies stand in solidarity with the decision by the Dutch and British governments to call out Russia on its blatant attempts to undermine international law and institutions." 

He said: "Russia must stop its reckless pattern of behavior, including the use of force against its neighbors, attempted interference in election processes, and widespread disinformation campaigns." 

The 29 allies are discussing cybersecurity at talks in Brussels, with the US, Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands due to announce that they will provide offensive cyber-capabilities for use by Nato. 

Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 13:20
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Nato's general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Twitter: "Nato stands in solidarity with the Dutch & UK governments in calling out #Russia on its cyber attacks against OPCW & others.

"Russia must stop its reckless pattern of behaviour to undermine international law & institutions.

"Nato allies work together to bolster our cyber defences." 

Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 13:34
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Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 13:36
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James Mattis, the US defence secretary, has said Russia must be held accountable for its attempts to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Mr Mattis told a news conference that Russia must pay a price and a number of response options were available.

He said he agreed with the determination made by the British and Dutch recently.

Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 13:47
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A source at Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Dutch allegations about an alleged Russian attempt to hack the chemical weapons watchdog were absurd, the RIA news agency reported.

"There was no attack," RIA cited the unnamed source as saying, adding that the allegations stemmed from a Western campaign against Russia.

"We are part of all the organisation's [OPCW's] structures so why would we hack it? We have access, their entire network is open to us. This is another absurdity."

Samuel Osborne4 October 2018 14:01

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