The UK government has accused the Russian military intelligence service – the GRU – of carrying out ‘indiscriminate and reckless cyberattacks’ on political institutions, businesses, media and sport.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said it had identified that a number of cyberactors widely known to have been conducting cyberattacks around the world are, in fact, the GRU.
These attacks, the NCSC said, have been conducted in ‘flagrant violation’ of international law, have affected citizens in a large number of countries, including Russia and have cost national economies millions of pounds.
Cyberattacks orchestrated by the GRU have attempted to undermine international sporting institution WADA, disrupt transport systems in Ukraine and destabilise democracies and target businesses.
This campaign by the GRU shows that it is working in secret to undermine international law and international institutions.
The Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: “These cyberattacks serve no legitimate national security interest, instead impacting the ability of people around the world to go about their daily lives free from interference and even their ability to enjoy sport.
“The GRU’s actions are reckless and indiscriminate. They try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries; they are even prepared to damage Russian companies and Russian citizens. This pattern of behaviour 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.
“Our message is clear: together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU’s attempts to undermine international stability.”
The government said the UK and its allies are once again united in demonstrating that the international community will stand up against irresponsible cyberattacks by other governments and that it will work together to respond to them. The British government said it will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep its people safe.
In a statement, the Russian Embassy called the announcement ‘reckless’ and said such statements by the UK Foreign Office were nothing but ‘crude disinformation’ aimed at confusing the British and world public opinion.