The UK, US and Netherlands accuse Russia of cyber attacks

Putin looking villianish

The UK, US and the Netherlands have accused Russia of being responsible for a spate of global cyber attacks, with seven people being charged by the US.

The charges against the seven include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Four the seven were the men expelled from the Netherlands having after being caught attempting a cyber-attack on the headquarters of the international chemical weapons watchdog, which was disrupted by Dutch military intelligence.

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

The NCSC said it has assessed with high confidence that the GRU has almost certainly been conducting attacks under various aliases, such as Fancy Bear, Sednit and APT 28.

The NCSC has blamed the GRU for attacks such as the 2017 WADA email leak, which saw the identities of 28 football players who had received a Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) released online.

The Kremlin has also been accused of the 2017 'Bad Rabbit' ransomware that encrypted hard drives and rendered IT inoperable, resulting in mass disruption to services including the Kyiv metro, Odessa airport, Russia's central bank and two Russian media outlets.

The NCSC also said, with high confidence, that the Kremlin was also responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016, which also affected the US presidential election of the same year.

Now, Seven Russian government operatives have been charged by the FBI with hacking into the computer networks. According to the indictment, starting in 2014, the defendants, who worked in for the GRU, engaged in "persistent and sophisticated criminal cyber intrusions".

The seven men appear on a wanted poster released by the FBI

In the past week, the Fancy Bear group has been implicated as being responsible for a series of attacks on government entities using the 'LoJax' malware, a new strain that exploits the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) on modern computers and is almost impossible to remove.

SonicWall CEO Bill Conner, has previously advised both the UK and US governments on cybersecurity, has called for global cooperation to fight the growing threat of international cyber attacks.

"Whether it's elections, tariffs or natural disasters, countries currently tend to operate independently. However, the cyber landscape, with its non-existent borders and limitless boundaries, is forcing us to work together in new ways.

"The announcement by the UK government highlights a growing need for public and private sectors around the world to work together to detect, defend and dissipate the rising volume and ferocity of cyber attacks."

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.