Russia's Hackers Are Masters Of Cyber Warfare

The Sandworm hackers have attacked the Ukrainian power system,  French President Macron’s election campaign    in 2017, the South Korean Olympics in 2018 and the UK investigation into the 2018 Russian nerve agent attack in Salisbury. According to cyber security experts, the same unit was involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s election campaign in 2016, disguised as a hacktivist group dubbed Fancy Bear.

A huge cyber-attack which knocked out more than 2,000 websites in the country of Georgia last year was carried out by Russia, according to Georgia, the UK and the US.

The UK government says that Russian military intelligence agency (GRU was behind the "attempt to undermine Georgia's sovereignty". British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described it as "totally unacceptable". On Monday 19th of October the US and UK authorities have accused the unit of planning a cyber-attack on the coming Tokyo Olympics.  

The US indictment of six Sandworm operatives, all GRU military intelligence officers, explains how they preparation for the attack on the Olympics. They apparently studied the tactics of the Lazarus group from N. Korea with the hope it could be blamed on them. 

The indictment is based on lengthy investigations by FBI analysts in cooperation with Google, Cisco, Facebook and Twitter as well with allied intelligence agencies, most importantly from the Five Eyes alliance, of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

According to the indictment, the investigators were able to keep such a close watch on the hackers that it caught one of them, named as Anatoliy Kovalev, doing a bit of moonlighting, spear phishing Russian real estate companies, and car dealers as well as crypto currency exchanges abroad, apparently for private profit.

Thomas Rid, Professor of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University said the level of detail in the indictment reflects the degree to which the GRU teams own networks were being spied on by the Five Eyes joint intelligence operation. “Today’s GRU indictment is an incredible document,” Rid said on Twitter. “The Five Eyes intelligence communities, I would suspect, must have stunning visibility into Russian military intelligence operations if today’s disclosures are considered dispensable.”

Politico:        Guardian:          BBC

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