WADA targeted by Russian military intelligence service GRU, says United Kingdom government

Main building of the OPCW in The Hague

The British government on Thursday accused Russia's GRU military intelligence agency of "reckless and indiscriminate cyberattacks", blaming it for everything from the hacking of top athletes' medical data to disruptions on the Kiev subway system to attacks on the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee.

Britain and the Netherlands have accused Russia of running a global campaign of cyber-attacks to undermine democracies, including a thwarted attempt to hack into the United Nations chemical weapons watchdog while it was analysing a Russian poison used to attack a spy.

"These cyber attacks 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", Hunt added.

Whether this is enough to stop the escalation of cyber attacks (the USA recently said it would hack back at attackers) remains to be seen.

After their hacking attempt was disrupted, the four Russian intelligence officers were immediately expelled from the Netherlands, Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said.

Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne issued a joint statement that Australian intelligence agencies agreed that GRU "is responsible for this pattern of malicious cyber activity".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and NATO defense ministers gather for a group photo during a meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Wednesday.

The 29 allies are discussing cybersecurity at talks in Brussels, with the US, Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands due to announce that they will provide offensive cyber-capabilities for use by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Prosecutors say some of those accused were also involved in the thwarted hacking of the global chemical watchdog in the Netherlands, revealed by Dutch authorities earlier.

Asked about accusations from the Foreign Office of Russia being involved in worldwide cyber attacks, a spokesman for the Russian embassy said: "This statement is reckless".

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"The decision taken at the time of catching the operatives was to disrupt as quickly as possible so we deported them, it was not a police operation", the director of the Dutch intelligence service said.

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

Britain has also blamed the GRU for the poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a military-grade nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

All the activity comes amid heightened tension between Russian Federation and the U.S. over cybersecurity.

In addition to anti-doping agencies, the GRU targeted others, including the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, a nuclear energy company in Pennsylvania.

He said Russia's actions against the Netherlands-based OPCW came as the agency was conducting an independent analysis of the nerve agent used against the Skripals.

In other words, officials hope that Russian Federation will know that if it carries out attacks like this again, there will be a price to be paid of further worldwide opprobrium.

Operating under names such as Voodoo Bear, CyberCaliphate and Pawnstorm, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) accused GRU of "working in secret to undermine worldwide law and global institutions".

In some of the strongest language used by the West since the Cold War, Britain said Russian Federation was acting like a "pariah state".

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