United States indicts seven Russian spies in ‘doping scandal hack’

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The hack was thwarted with the aid of British intelligence officials and on Thursday the United Kingdom government accused the Kremlin of violating global laws with "indiscriminate and reckless cyber attacks".

Today, the United Kingdom and its allies can expose a campaign by the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, of indiscriminate and reckless cyber attacks targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport.

Russian Federation earlier dismissed the allegations as "Western spy mania".

Hunt said some of the hacking serves "no legitimate national security interest" for Russian Federation.

At the time of the attack the OPCW was investigating the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England.

The Russian embassy in Ottawa said in a statement Thursday that the allegations are "fake news" and part of an "anti-Russia witch hunt" by the U.S., Britain and their "willing allies, including Canada".

John Demers, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security, confirmed that known attack targets included the OPCW, sports bodies including Federation Internationale de Football Association and the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), as well as U.S. nuclear energy company Westinghouse.

"We are very concerned about what's being reported".

Bijleveld, the Dutch defense minister, said that Russian hackers also targeted files in The Hague's probe into the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. All 298 people on board were killed.

"The EU will continue to strengthen the resilience of its institutions and those of its member states, and worldwide partners and organisations in the digital domain", the statement said.

LONDON-The British government has accused Russian military intelligence of being behind four cyber attacks aimed at spreading confusion and disinformation.

What have the other countries said?

"We want the hundreds of victims of these Russian hackers to know that we will do everything we can to hold these criminals accountable for their crimes", said U.S. Attorney Scott Brady.

The GRU, Britain said, was nearly certainly behind the BadRabbit and World Anti-Doping Agency hacking attacks of 2017, the hack of the US Democratic National Committee in 2016 and the theft of emails from a UK-based TV station in 2015.

What were the suspects doing in the Netherlands?

Britain helped the Netherlands with the operation, they added.

The men had planned to travel on to a laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland used by the OPCW to analyse samples, Dutch Major-General Onno Eichelsheim said.

They never made it. On April 13, these men were discovered by Dutch authorities and sent back to Russian Federation.

The foreign office named 12 cyber groups that it said were associated with the GRU.

In April, four GRU operatives allegedly flew from Moscow to the Netherlands and attempted to hack into and infect the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' Wi-Fi network in what's known as a close access hack operation.

But Russians were being trailed by Dutch and British intelligence and left a trail of evidence including a laptop and a taxi receipt from GRU headquarters to Moscow airport, the Dutch said.

What was on their computer?

"This was not an isolated act", British Ambassador Peter Wilson to the Netherlands said at a briefing about the espionage on Thursday. Dutch-led investigators concluded that the plane was downed by a missile belonging to a Russian military unit.

"The attempt to compromise the networks of the OPCW is consistent with Russia's broader attacks on the independence and professionalism of the personnel of the OPCW".

Some of the charges relate to attacks against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in an effort to undermine the body following the exposure of a Russian state-sponsored athlete doping program.