Britain: Russian hackers as “Islamic State”

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The British intelligence agency GCHQ blocked the Russian hackers attempt’s to break into the government’s and media website, wrote Sunday Times.

The attacks that took place in May 2016 after the Parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom were conducted by the group of hackers nicknamed Fancy Bears that have strong links to the Russian spy agencies.

According to GCHQ, the hackers that attacked all of the websites operated by the British government including Defence Ministry and Foreign Office as well as UK media including BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4 used the same method that helped them one month earlier to hack into the website of the French TV5 Monde.

In April a group of hackers took control over the TV5 Monde website replacing the news content with the black flag of the Islamic State, the terrorist group that is prohibited in the European Union and also in Russia. The attack lasted 18 hours.

At that time the British intelligence experts realised that the hackers tried to mislead them presenting themselves as “Islamic State” because the digital traces of their activity in cyber-space led directly to Moscow, a GCHQ source said.

The Fancy Bears that also operate under the names of CozyDuke, Sofacy, Pawn Storm, APT 28, Sednit and Tsar Team are responsible for hacking  into the White House staffer’s mail account and the ADAMS database managed by the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System.

 

Russian hackers reverted to the Cold War spying methods

The Russian spy agencies intensified its cyber-attack operations against the state and civic society institutions in Europe in recent weeks.

In the middle of September the officials from the German Bureau for Security of Information BSI informed the Members of German Parliament, Bundestag, about attacks on the government institutions.

On August 15 and 24 of this year, hackers sent the forged emails from Mr. Henry Kramer, a non-existent official at the headquarters of NATO in Brussels, to the German politicians, the BSI investigators revealed. The letters looked like originals.

The forged emails contained links to the articles about the putsch in Turkey and the earthquake in Italy. When clicked the links would initiate downloading of the Trojan horse that allowed hackers to steal the user’s mail.

The German government experts described these attacks as “organised on large-scale”.

The hackers attacked the computers of the leftist parties members of Bundestag and also local politicians from other social organisations including the political associations of German youth Junge Union. Hackers targeted also Die Linke party and its Chairman Ms Sahra Wagenknecht.

The German intelligence and other NATO states intelligence agencies that identified the groups of hackers as pt28, and Sofacy Group are convinced that they are contractors of the Russian government. Federal Director of BSI Mr. Arne Schönbohm said that both Russian military and civilian intelligence tasks hackers.

The BSI experts also said that the probability that the Russian hackers would manipulate the German elections in 2017 was “very high”.

“The threat is obvious. Thanks to a forewarning of the attacks we could introduce the safety measures relatively fast. But we should not rely on luck”, Mr. Arne Schönbohm, said.

“If personal information about candidates and information from the headquarters of the parties will fall into the hands of foreign intelligence services, it can be used for propaganda purposes” – the German ruling party CDU MP Dr. Patrick Ernst Sensburg added.

The German media see in the recent attack of the Russian hackers the same handwriting as in the attacks on the US Democratic party’s servers.

The apparent novelty inhabitant cyberwar is new only in form, but in fact it is – the continuation of the Cold War with new methods.

 (pht)

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