DOJ charges seven Russian officials for hacking doping critics


The US government announced on Thursday that it has indicted seven Russian intelligence officials for hacking targets in the United States.

The hackers allegedly also targeted the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague in April, according to BBC News.

The indictment says the hacking was often conducted remotely.

On 13 April they parked a auto outside OPCW building and at that point Dutch counter-terrorism officers intervened to disrupt the operation and the four GRU officers were ordered to leave the country. This was being used to intercept login details, Maj Gen Onno Eichelsheim from the Dutch MIVD intelligence service said.

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

Among the cyber attacks blamed on the GRU by the British on Thursday include the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, whose documents were subsequently published online by WikiLeaks, and the leaking of top athletes' medical records.

A laptop belonging to one of the four was linked to Brazil, Switzerland and Malaysia, with the activities in Malaysia related to the investigation into the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine, Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld told a news conference.

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Moscow has issued the latest in a series of denials, but the allegations leveled by Western intelligence agencies, supported by a wealth of surveillance footage and overwhelmingly confirmed by independent reporting, paint a picture of the GRU as an agency that routinely crosses red lines - and is increasingly being caught red-handed.

Russia on Thursday rejected British accusations its spies were behind global cyber attacks, saying the allegations were unworthy and part of a disinformation campaign created to damage Russian interests, the TASS news agency reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB spy, said on October 3 that Skripal, a GRU officer who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service, was a "scumbag" who had betrayed his country.

"Cyber attacks orchestrated by the GRU have attempted to undermine global sporting institution WADA, disrupt transport systems in Ukraine, destabilise democracies and target businesses", NCSC said.

Many have been previously linked to Moscow, including the 2017 "BadRabbit" ransomware targeting of a Ukrainian worldwide airport and Russian media outlets, and the attempted hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency in Switzerland, also previous year.

The GRU, now officially known in Russian Federation by a shorter acronym GU, is also the agency Britain has blamed in the past for sending two agents to England to poison former spy Sergei Skripal with a chemical weapon sprayed in his door. Russian Federation has denied any involvement in the plane's destruction.

Wilson said Russia's actions against the Netherlands-based OPCW in April came as the agency was conducting an independent analysis of the nerve agent used against the Skripals. Britain says the nerve agent was Novichok, produced in the Soviet Union, a finding later confirmed by the chemical weapons watchdog.

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Earlier, British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson branded a series of global cyberattacks blamed on Russian Federation as the reckless actions of a "pariah state", saying that the United Kingdom and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies would uncover such activities in the future.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned Russian Federation to halt its "reckless" behavior amid a series of global cyberattacks blamed on Moscow, and says NATO allies stand united behind the U.K. and Dutch governments.

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said that a number of hackers known to have launched attacks have now been identified as the GRU.

The NCSC also stated that the GRU was "almost certainly" to blame for hacking the Democratic National Committee during the USA presidential election in 2016.

"We are going to actually make it clear that where Russian Federation acts, we are going to be exposing that action", Williamson said.

"This is not the actions of a great power. We are going to actually make it clear that where Russian Federation acts, we are going to be exposing that action", Williamson said.

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