Reuters on Russian cyberspace warfare potential

Russian jets, Syrian army target northwestern Syria

Reuters on Russian cyberspace warfare potential

The agency puts forward possible motives for Russia for the recent cyberattack on the computer networks of the US federal government

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that Russia was responsible for a cyberattack in which malicious code was embedded into the software systems of the US federal government, other governments and companies around the world..

The Kremlin has always denied Moscow’s involvement in cyberattacks against the West and has now also stated that Russia has nothing to do with the latest attack..

We offer information on the possible motives of Russia for such an attack, as well as on Russia’s capabilities in conducting cyber attacks and information warfare..

Possible Russian motive

The Kremlin has repeatedly stated that it wants to improve relations with the United States, which are at their lowest point since the Cold War and are strained by a range of problems, from Ukraine to Syria. However, he also openly views the United States as Russia’s main geopolitical adversary and a threat to its national security..

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington of starting a new arms race, and NATO of bringing the military infrastructure closer to Russian borders. Putin also complained about US sanctions, which he sees as an attempt at economic and technological containment of Russia..

Russia regularly checks the U.S. defense system, organizing strategic bomber flights near Alaska and sending submarines across the Atlantic to patrol off the U.S. east coast..

Putin lamented that outgoing President Donald Trump had failed to improve Russian-American relations, and denounced President-elect Joe Biden’s rhetoric, which he saw as sharply anti-Russian. On Thursday, Putin blamed US intelligence agencies for a series of recent media investigations of people around him. Without providing any evidence, he also linked American intelligence services to the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, which he presented as staged..

Only on December 15 did Putin congratulate Biden on his victory in the November 3 elections. In November, Putin said he was not worried that a delay in congratulating Biden would worsen US-Russian relations..

“You can’t spoil a spoiled relationship,” Putin said.

Cozy bear

Some cyber investigators have suggested that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) was behind the recent attack..

In 2018, Dutch media reported, citing unnamed intelligence officials, that the Dutch intelligence service AIVD linked the Russian hacker group Cozy Bear, also known as ART29, to the SVR..

AIVD did not comment on these posts.

Citing its own sources, the Washington Post reported on December 13 that the US concluded that Cozy Bear was responsible for the recent cyberattack that Pompeo referred to..

Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike found traces of Cozy Bear hackers on Democratic servers ahead of the 2016 presidential election, when Hillary Clinton employees’ email accounts were hacked.

In July, the UK, US and Canada accused Cozy Bear of trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research materials from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world..

Fancy bear

Russian military intelligence, also known as the GRU, has a powerful cybercrime potential, according to U.S. intelligence..

In particular, according to their statements, the GRU controls a hacker group known as Fancy Bear or APT28.

This group, according to the indictment of the US Department of Justice, presented in 2018, hacked the email accounts of Hillary Clinton employees ahead of the 2016 elections..

In September, Reuters reported that Microsoft believes Fancy Bear is also targeting Biden’s firm..

In 2016, the World Anti-Doping Agency accused Russian hackers of stealing confidential medical information about American Olympians and publishing it on the Internet. The FBI later confiscated the domain of the site www.fancybear.net where this information was published..

Reuters on Russian cyberspace warfare potential
Reuters on Russian cyberspace warfare potential

Cybersecurity investigators also linked Fancy Bear hackers to US and French election cyber attacks.

FSB

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is the country’s main counterintelligence service.

In 2017, the United States accused two FSB agents and two hackers of organizing data theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014..

The Justice Department indictment included charges of computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, electronic communications fraud, and aggravated theft of identity documents..

The indictment painted a picture of Russian intelligence agencies working hand in hand with cybercriminals to help spies achieve their intelligence goals in exchange for money..

“Internet Research Agency”

Federal prosecutors said the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency played a key role in Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. election in favor of Trump.

According to them, this was due to the flooding of social media with false messages and conspiracy theories in an attempt to exploit existing divisions..

US officials say it is a Kremlin-backed organization whose employees impersonate Americans..

In September, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on individuals and organizations linked to the Internet Research Agency financier, who was charged in 2018, along with 12 individuals and three organizations, with conspiracy to mislead the United States about his alleged participation in election interference.

Reuters on Russian cyberspace warfare potential

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