A joint stand against Russian cyber-attacks

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Russian military intelligence is “almost certainly responsible”

On October 4, 2018, joining its allies in exposing previous Russian cyber-attacks, Global Affairs Canada issued a public statement condemning such activities of the Russian government as inappropriate, violating international law and undermining the rightful world order.

According to the statement, some of the Russian operations targeted systems and networks in Canada. In particular, the 2016 hacks of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, and Canada-based World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which resulted in releasing of confidential medical files of certain international athletes are believed to be orchestrated by the Russian military intelligence (GRU). In turn, the Canadian government reconfirms its commitment to protect “its citizens and institutions from cyber-threats, domestically and internationally.” The adoption of a new Cyber Security Strategy and the establishment of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security were marked as “significant investments” into the country’s “cyber-resilience.” Moreover, Canada reaffirms its intention to cooperate with its partners in order to respond to these GRU’s attempts to shake international stability by means of cyber-attacks, and calls on all interested parties to join this coalition of like-minded states.

“Canada will continue to act to uphold international law in cyberspace.”

In its statement, Canada refers to a number of similar documents published by the UK, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia on the same day. And while New Zealand and Australia admit that they were not directly impacted by Russian malicious cyber-activity, the UK and the Netherlands demonstrated GRU’s cyber operations addressed in these countries. Thus, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre listed a dozen of hackers associated with the GRU and the Kremlin and almost the same amount of cyber-attacks assessed by the Centre “with high confidence that the GRU were almost certainly responsible.” The Netherlands publicly revealed their intelligence operation against Russian cyber-attack on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, connecting this fact with the use of a Novichok agent in Salisbury.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs negatively reacted on the above-mentioned statements linking them to the upcoming OPCW session. As reported by Russia’s Ministry, a few western countries are pushing through the organization an establishment of a new mechanism of convicting actors of chemical weapons’ usage. “It is evident that this current informational input is one more stage of framing of a “required” political background to expedite this illicit initiative,” concludes the Ministry’s comment.

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