US, Britain blame Russian Federation for global cyber attack

Erika Holt
April 17, 2018

The alert comes two months after the United States and Britain accused Russian Federation of carrying out the damaging "NotPetya" cyber attack in 2017 that unleashed a virus that crippled parts of Ukraine's infrastructure and damaged computers across the globe.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cybersecurity officials from the US and United Kingdom accused the Russian government Monday of sponsoring attacks for possible use in espionage or stealing intellectual property from large corporations down to individual homes.

"We consider these accusations and speculations as striking examples of a reckless, provocative and unfounded policy against Russian Federation".

The attack focused on governments, businesses, "critical infrastructure", and internet service providers.

Russian Federation has not responded to the accusations, but regularly denies any role in state-sponsored hacking.

US intelligence agencies a year ago accused Russian Federation of interfering in the 2016 election with a hacking and propaganda campaign supporting Donald Trump's campaign for president. Last month the Trump administration blamed Russian Federation for a campaign of cyberattacks that targeted the US power grid.

They asked victims to report any infections so they could better understand the impact of the campaign.

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United States and U.K. relations with Vladimir Putin's administration are at a low, following the use of nerve agent to poison a former double agent in Britain in March and the US-led bombing of Syria over the weekend.

"This is yet another example of Russia's disregard for worldwide norms and global order this time through a campaign of cyber espionage and aggression, which attempts to disrupt governments and destabilise business", a British government spokesman said.

Douma was a rebel stronghold at the time of the attack on 7 April and is now under the control of the Syrian government and Russian military.

A senior USA administration official who demanded anonymity to speak publicly about the intelligence assessment said Saturday that "while the available information is much greater on the chlorine use, we do have significant information that also points to sarin use".

Meanwhile the White House cyber security coordinator Rob Joyce will leave his post and return to the National Security Agency, a White House National Security Council spokesman said.

"Given that in recent days the British media, instigated by official statements, has again started to exploit the issue of 'cyberthreats from Russian Federation, ' impression grows that the British public is being prepared for a massive cyber attack by the United Kingdom against Russian Federation, that will purport to be of a retaliatory nature, but would in fact constitute unprovoked use of force".

Britain's National Cyber Security Centre, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a joint statement on the attack, which they said began in 2015 and could have laid the groundwork for further cyber-attacks in the future.

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