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

Cheryl Sanders
October 4, 2018

John Demers, the Justice Department's top national security official, said the new indictment didn't arise out of Mueller's investigation.

Russian agents attempted to breach the personal information of approximately 250 athletes from 30 countries who supported the ban on Russian athletes or condemned the country's doping program, officials said, as well as the systems of U.S. and worldwide anti-doping agencies, deeming it "a lengthy and wide-ranging conspiracy to hack into private computes and networks around the world".

Now, the U.S. government is seeking to apply the law to the cyber spies.

Speaking before Thursday's news conference, Mr Hunt said the GRU was responsible for "reckless and indiscriminate" acts.

NCSC assess with high confidence that the GRU was nearly certainly responsible.

It also included a picture of him at the Olympic games in Brazil in 2016 alongside an unidentified Russian athlete. The International Paralympic Committee imposed a blanket ban on Russian athletes in its 2016 games.

It's hard to be absolutely certain online that you are pointing the finger at the right group, thanks to the shadowy nature of cyber espionage, especially when hackers will cheerfully plant evidence to make it look like another group has carried out an attack. When that didn't work, they traveled to targets' physical locations, where they "hacked computer networks used by victim organizations or their personnel through Wi-Fi connections, including hotel Wi-Fi networks".

The seven officials are charged with hacking, stealing private and sensitive information and publishing it as retaliation.

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

Using social media accounts and other computer sites operated by GRU Unit 74455 in Russian Federation - one of two units implicated in July for interfering in the 2016 election, the cyber spies posed online selected items, posing as a hacktivist group calling itself the "Fancy Bears' Hack Team".

The hackers allegedly used code names to hide their identities, such as "Sandworm", "Fancy Bear" and the "Sofacy Group". In some instances, WADA documents were altered, officials said.

The attack on the OPCW took place in April - at the same time the organization was working to analyze the Novichok attack on Sergei Skripal in England, the officials said.

Responding to the claims made on Thursday, the Russian Embassy in London said they were "irresponsible" and that the United Kingdom was imparting "crude disinformation".

"They were clearly not here on holiday", said Eichelsheim.

Specifically, GRU's Unit 26165, which has also been known as APT 28 and has been accused of conducting cyber operations around the world.

They were named in them as Alekski Morenets, described as a cyber operator, Evgenii Serebriakov, also a cyber operator, Oleg Soktnikov, described as humint (human intelligence) support and Alexey Minin, also humint support.

According to a presentation by the head of the Netherlands' military intelligence agency, four Russians arrived in the Netherlands on April 10 and were caught with spying equipment at a hotel located next to the OPCW headquarters.

But the Dutch defence intelligence service disrupted their hacking operation, and arrested them, officials said.

"Today, Canada joins its allies in identifying and exposing a series of malicious cyber-operations by the Russian military". That attack left four people fighting for their lives and one woman dead.

Between July and August 2015 multiple email accounts belonging to a small UK-based TV station were accessed and content stolen.

In August 2017, confidential medical files relating to a number of global athletes were released. It also confirms that the "BadRabbit" ransonware that hit in October 2017 - and caused disruption to the Kyiv metro, Odessa airport, Russia's central bank and two Russian media outlets - was also down to the GRU.

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