Russia cyber-plots

US, UK and Netherlands allege hacking

US, UK and Netherlands allege hacking

Moscow, Oct 5 (Just News): Russian spies have been accused of involvement in a series of cyber-plots across the globe, leading the US to level charges against seven agents.

The US justice department said targets included the global chemical weapons watchdog, anti-doping agencies and a US nuclear company.

The allegations are part of an organised push-back against alleged Russian cyber-attacks around the world.

Russia earlier dismissed the allegations as "Western spy mania".

What is Russia accused of?

Added to this, the Dutch authorities have said a laptop seized from the four suspects in April was found to have been used in Brazil, Switzerland and Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the Netherlands said, it was used to target the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 over territory held by Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board were killed.

The revelations about how the British and Dutch security agencies disrupted the operations of the GRU are astonishing in their detail and their openness.

This is not what secretive intelligence agencies normally do.

But the willingness of both countries to be so candid illustrates how determined both they and some other Western governments are to try to push back against what they see as a concerted pattern of Russian aggression.

"I imagine Mr Putin is shouting at one or two people right now," a cheerful British official told me.

What has Russia said?

Russia's foreign ministry - which had earlier dismissed the allegations from the UK and the Netherlands as "Western spy mania" - released an official statement late on Thursday, saying it was the victim of "yet another stage-managed propaganda campaign".

"It's unclear who is supposed to believe these statements accusing Russian citizens of attempting to mount cyber-attacks against the OPCW and trying to obtain data related to the Malaysian flight MH17, as if it is necessary to be near the target of your attack," it said.

"Any Russian citizen carrying a mobile device is seen as a spy," the statement added.

What have the other countries said?

John Demers, US Assistant Attorney General for National Security, told a press conference in Washington that many of the attacks were aimed at delegitimizing sports bodies and "altering perceptions of the truth".

He said the attacks were how Russia retaliated for bans on its athletes following evidence it was systematically using drugs to enhance their performance.

As a result of the findings, the US has indicted seven people, four of whom were the men expelled from the Netherlands, while the other three were among those charged in July with hacking Democratic officials during the 2016 US elections.

They were also charged with wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering.

All seven men are thought to be in Russia, which does not have an extradition treaty with the US.

A joint statement from British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte said the alleged plot against the OPCW demonstrated "the GRU's disregard for global values and rules that keep us all safe".

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK was discussing further sanctions against Russia with its allies.

The EU has also denounced the alleged cyber-plots.