US charges 7 Russian intel officers with hacking

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Demers says the indictment shows hackers can't use anonymity to hide from the law.

Britain accused Russian military intelligence on Thursday of directing a host of cyberattacks aimed at undermining Western democracies by sowing confusion in everything from the 2016 USA presidential election to the global chemical weapons watchdog.

Britain says Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, attacked a wide range of civilian and political targets in what it calls a "flagrant violation of global law".

The US justice department said targets included the global chemical weapons watchdog, anti-doping agencies and a US nuclear company.

That being said, the indictment indicates investigators were able to track the machines used to initiate bitcoin transactions, noting that the defendants sent bitcoin payments from the same computers used to conduct some "hacking activity". "North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries are basically planning to create their own cyber forces", Yakovenko told RT, referring to a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense ministers in the Belgian capital.

"We are ready today to provide cyber support to our allies, I've seen enough of the evidence to say that the Dutch and the British are 100 per cent accurate in who they have attributed this to", Mattis said.

Among other things the ministers agreed to share cyber capabilities while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg used the occasion to condemn Russian Federation for its alleged hacking operations.

"Russia must stop its reckless pattern of behaviour, including the use of force against its neighbours, attempted interference in election processes, and widespread disinformation campaigns".

"NATO will continue to strengthen its defence and deterrence to deal with hybrid threats, including in the cyber domain", he added as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence ministers met to discuss new offensive cyber capabilities.

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. The Olympics hacking campaign targeted 250 athletes from 30 countries, along with U.S. and worldwide anti-doping agencies.

Russian Federation on Thursday dismissed the accusations as "fantasies".

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Prosecutors say some of those accused were also involved in the thwarted hacking of the worldwide chemical watchdog in the Netherlands, revealed by Dutch authorities earlier.

Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said the GRU's hacking attempts on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which she said took place in April, were disrupted by authorities.

They said the Russian military intelligence service could have only been conducting operations of such scale on Kremlin orders.

The OPCW was investigating the poisoning of a former Russian intelligence official in Salisbury, U.K.

"We will be discussing with our allies what further sanctions should be imposed", he said.

"This was not an isolated act", British Ambassador Peter Wilson to the Netherlands said at a briefing about the espionage on Thursday.

Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a news briefing that the British accusations were the product of someone with a "rich imagination". Britain blames the secretive military intelligence unit for the nerve agent attack in March on Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury.

The OPCW is the world's foremost chemical weapons watchdog, and in June granted itself new powers to assign blame for attacks despite protests by Russian Federation.

At the same time, Australian and British spies have now endorsed the American intelligence community's reported attribution of the catastrophic June 2017 cyberattack on Ukraine to the GRU.

The British report said the GRU had associated itself with a host of hackers involved in high-profile attacks, known by such names as APT 28, Fancy Bear, Sofacy, Pawnstorm, Sednit, CyberCaliphate, Cyber Berkut, Voodoo Bear, and BlackEnergy Actors.

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