World News – United States – US Burdens Russian Intelligence Officers in Major Cyber ​​Attacks


Today we announced criminal charges against the conspiracy of Russian military intelligence officers accused of carrying out the most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group None country has only armed its cyber capabilities with as much malice and irresponsibility as Russia, causing unprecedented collateral damage free of charge to seek small tactical advantages and outbursts of spite Today’s allegations, in their entirety, provide a useful lens for assessing Russia’s bid two weeks ago for a reset of cyber relations between Russia and the United States. Russia is certainly right that the technologically sophisticated nations that aspire to lead have a special responsibility to ensure world order and to contribute to widely accepted standards – peace and security This is what we are doing here today, But this indictment lays bare Russia’s use of its cyber capabilities to destabilize and interfere with the national, political and economic systems of other countries, thus a cold reminder why its proposal is nothing more than ‘dishonest rhetoric and cynical and cheap propaganda

The Justice Ministry on Monday announced the indictment of six Russian military intelligence officers in connection with major hacks around the world, including the Winter Olympics and elections in France, as well as a attack in 2017 aimed at destabilizing Ukraine which spread rapidly and was accused of billions of dollars in damage

Prosecutors said the suspects were from the same Russian unit that carried out one of the major Kremlin operations to interfere in the 2016 US election, the theft of Democratic emails They attacked the French presidential elections of 2017; targeted UK authorities investigating the poisoning of a former Russian intelligence agent and the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea; and hacked Ukrainian parliament, finance ministry and power grid, court documents say

The case marked another effort by Trump administration officials to punish Russia for meddling in the affairs of other countries, even as President Trump took a more accommodating stance on Moscow The charges did not relate to the 2020 election interference; US intelligence agencies assessed that Russia was trying to influence the November vote

« No country has armed its cyber capabilities in such a malevolent or irresponsible manner as Russia, causing unprecedented damage gratuitously to seek small tactical advantages and satisfy outbursts of spite, » Deputy Attorney General said to national security, John C Demers

In a search of President Vladimir V Putin’s claim that he is restoring Russia to its greatness, Mr. Demers added: « No nation will regain greatness by behaving in this way »

Prosecutors said the suspects worked for Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate Unit 74455, commonly referred to as the GRU Known to cybersecurity analysts as Fancy Bear, the unit led the 2016 campaign. to steal Democrats’ emails and help publicize them, embarrassing Hillary Clinton’s home stretch campaign

One of the suspects indicted in the newly unsealed indictments, Anatoly Sergeyevich Kovalev, was indicted two years ago on charges announced by special advocate Robert S Mueller III over his alleged role in the 2016 electoral interference

It is not known if the suspects will stand trial on the charges The Russian government is unlikely to hand them over for prosecution But the charges could potentially restrict their travel and they could be arrested if they entered a country willing to deliver them to the United States

One of the intrusions the Justice Department focused on was the 2017 attempted interference in the French presidential election That year, hackers released stolen documents as the vote began, aiming to try to hurt Emmanuel Macron in his race against Marine Le Pen, a far-right candidate backed by Moscow

But unlike Russian work in the 2016 US election, the French operation mixed genuine documents with tampered with material French media largely ignored the stolen documents, in part due to issues of authenticity, but also because France was in a period of ban imposed by the government just before the vote

US officials have warned that Russia may repeat these tactics during this year’s presidential race in the United States, mixing forged material with real stolen documents in a way that is difficult to distinguish fact from fiction

The indictments showed how the hacking unit emboldened itself after its interfering success in the 2016 US election, despite the ensuing fury and the Obama administration’s decision to punish and to publicly reprimand Russia for its role

« If you felt like after 2016 they hung up and gave up their aggressive behavior, the fact that they hacked the Olympics should disillusion you with that notion, » said John Hultquist, chief intelligence officer. on threats to FireEye, the Silicon Valley cybersecurity company « It was a vindictive attack There was no clear geopolitical reason to do it And it had an impact on the entire international community »

The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics hack, which cut internet access and TV broadcasts, blocked broadcasters’ drones, shut down Olympics websites and prevented spectators from attending the ceremony. ‘opening

At the time, security experts invented the « Sour Grapes » attack because they believed it was carried out by Russians out of spite for the Olympic Committee banning its athletes from participating in the games afterwards. systemic anti-doping rule violations

The suspects were also responsible for the development of malware used in two attacks on Ukraine’s power grid, court documents say The first attack, in December On March 23, 2015, Ukrainian energy companies infiltrated, cutting power for hours to more than 200,000 residents in the west of the country

In a follow-up attack that hit Kiev’s power grid a year later, suspects used a second piece of malware, called Industroyer, to cut power for an hour, the indictment says Malware was one of the biggest digital threats to critical infrastructure since Stuxnet, the computer attack by the United States and Israel that destroyed Iran’s uranium centrifuges in 2009, experts said.

The large-scale attack of June 2017 is considered the costliest in history Called NotPetya, it was originally intended for Ukraine but quickly exploded around the world, crippling some of the most large companies in Europe and the United States for a total estimated cost of $ 10 billion It cost Mondelez, the maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers, and the pharmaceutical giant Merck, some $ 700 million in damages, over $ 100 million.

« If you look at a list of the 10 most destructive cyber attacks in history, these guys were responsible for four of them, » Mr. Hultquist said

Russia, cyberattack, United States Department of Justice

News from the world – United States – US Charges Russian intelligence officers in major cyberattacks


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