Czech intelligence blames Russian hackers for government breaches

By Nicholas Sakelaris

Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Czech intelligence agents confirmed Monday that Russian hackers are to blame for the cyber attack that breached the email accounts of the country's foreign ministry and diplomats in 2016 and 2017.

The breach was part of the "most serious wave" of cyber espionage in the country's history with 150 email accounts compromised. The annual report put out by the Czech Security Information Service, or BIS, said there were two separate attacks.


"All the findings make clear that it was the Turla cyberespionage campaign originating from the FSB, a Russian Intelligence service, and APT28/Sofacy, which is credited to the Russian military intelligence, the GRU," the report said. "They thus obtained data that may be used for future attacks, as well as a list of potential targets in virtually all the important state institutions."

The same group is also linked to attacks against the United States and other countries.

Russia has not commented on the accusations.

The Czech report warned that Russia uses undeclared intelligence officers acting under diplomatic cover. There was also a cyber attack against Czech military and defense members where email addresses and IP addresses were compromised.


Additionally, there's been an increase in Chinese hackers.

This comes as Czech President Milos Zeman promotes political and business ties with Russia and China.

Alex Younger, head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, also said Russia is in a "perpetual confrontation" with the West, citing the Novichok poisoning of a former double agent. He warned Russia not to underestimate Britain and its allies.

He called for a new generation of spying using artificial intelligence and robotics to fight rogue states.

In the speech at St. Andrews University, Younger said Russian hackers are "willing to take advantage" of leaps in cyber technology to launch new attacks on Britain "in ways that fall short of traditional warfare."

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