As Putin Visits India, U.S., UK and Netherlands Accuse Russia of Global Hacking Cyber-Plots
Vladimir Putin, President, Russia (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Even as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is in India and is expected to sign a multi-billion dollar defence deal, multiple countries have come out to accuse Moscow of cyber hacking plots that span the globe.

World Anti-Doping Agency

The U.S. Justice Department announced the indictment of seven Russian military spies on the charges of cyber hacking linked to the leaking of drug test data of Olympic athletes. This indictment comes as Canada said it too was targeted by Russian cyber-attacks, citing breaches at its center for ethics in sports and at the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency, after allies blamed Moscow for some of the biggest hacking plots of recent years. "The government of Canada assesses with high confidence that the Russian military's intelligence arm, the GRU, was responsible" for these cyber attacks, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons

Along with the U.S. and Canada, Netherland’s security services say Russia planned a cyber-attack on the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) headquarters in The Hague earlier this year. At a press conference on Thursday, Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said the plan to target the UN’s chemical watchdog arm was thwarted with the help of officials from the UK. Four Russians planned to carry out a closed access hack operation targeting the OPCW's wifi network, officials say. These men were thrown out of the country soon after the plot was confirmed.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17

British authorities allege that a GRU operation conducted "malign activity" when it tried to collect information about the investigation into the 2014 downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine by targeting Malaysian government institutions, including the Attorney General's office and Malaysian police. Dutch officials added that GRU agents had logged into Wi-Fi networks near a Malaysian hotel where investigators had gathered.

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson in a meeting with U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and other NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday said, "Where Russia acts in an indiscriminate and reckless way, where they have done in terms of these cyber-attacks, we will be exposing them. We believe that by doing so, this will act as a disincentive for acting in such a way in the future."

Specifically, Russian federation intelligence agency, the GRU's Unit 26165, which has also been known as APT 28 and has been accused of conducting cyber operations around the world.

In July, three others were charged for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections.

This comes after the British government's accusation against Russia's military intelligence agency GRU of "reckless and indiscriminate cyberattacks," reported Washington Post.

Russia rejected the allegations on Thursday, calling it a "diabolical cocktail" of someone with a "rich imagination". (With Agency inputs)