Russian Spy Chief Says SolarWinds Was An Inside Job

The BBC Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg, has had an exclusive interview with Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), who has said that his agency was not linked to a massive cyber attack in the US last year. Naryshkin also said that this claim was like a “bad crime novel” in response to the accusations from UK and US governments that Russian intelligence carried out the SolarWinds cyber attack. 

Asked directly if the SVR was responsible for the SolarWinds attack, Naryshkin quipped with a smile that he would be "flattered" if the SVR had been responsible for such a sophisticated attack but that he could not "claim the creative achievements of others as his own".

He said there is no evidence to show or prove who did the SolarWinds attacks, however he said that there is evidence from Edward Snowden, who leaked US intelligence documents that the US was using operations that implanted software into systems to make cyber information gathering and attacks effective.

The United States and Britain cast Russia as a dangerous former superpower, which they say has poisoned enemies with nerve agents and radioactive isotopes, meddled in Western elections and carried out hacking operations across the worldNaryshkin said all claims that these attacks were controlled or backed by the Russian Intelligence Agency are absurd.

 Mr Naryshkin said that in his opinion it was probable that Western intelligence undertook the SolarWinds cyber attack operation. 

The hack of SolarWinds, which was identified in December 2020, gave access to thousands of companies and government offices that used its products. Microsoft President Brad Smith described the attack as “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen."

Britain's GCHQ cyber spying agency said that it was highly likely that SVR was responsible for the SolarWinds attack. Russia’s spy chief  Naryshkin also said that contact has been re-established with the head of Britain's secret intelligence service MI6, and that he hoped to be having a face-to-face meeting soon.

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