Posted on October 5, 2018
Russia ‘tried to hack Foreign Office’, says British diplomat
Russian cyber intelligence officers tried to hack the UK’s Foreign Office, a British diplomat has said.
Peter Wilson, the UK ambassador in The Hague, said Russian intelligence officers tried to compromise Foreign Office systems with an attack in March.
The accusation comes after Dutch security services said they expelled four Russians over a cyber plot against the global chemical weapons watchdog.
Moscow said the allegations were “not backed by any proof”.
Elsewhere, the US has charged seven Russians with hacking anti-doping agencies and other organisations.
The allegations are part of an organised push-back against alleged Russian cyber attacks around the world.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK was discussing further sanctions against Russia with its allies.
He said Russia’s “fake news” was in contrast to “the hard evidence of Russian military activity” provided by the joint operations between the Dutch and British governments.
Meanwhile, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has written to Mr Hunt calling for an inquiry into alleged Russian interference in UK elections – in particular the EU referendum.
In his letter he accused the government of “ignoring glaring concerns” and said there had been no response to a parliamentary committee that had asked whether the intelligence services were investigating.
- Russia ‘targeted chemical weapons body’
- What we know about Russian ‘OPCW plot’
- UK accuses Russian spies of cyber-attacks
In a statement with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Theresa May said “joint operations” had shone “further light on the unacceptable cyber activities of the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU”.
Mrs May said the attempted hack of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) demonstrated the GRU’s “disregard for the global values”.
The watchdog, based in the Hague, was examining the 4 March Salisbury attack.
Mr Wilson said targeting of the OPCW headquarters in May followed unsuccessful attacks by the GRU on the Foreign Office in March and on the defence laboratories at Porton Down, which was also investigating the Salisbury poisoning, in April.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Russia needed to be confronted with the evidence and that this had to be a “diplomatic confrontation”.
“What I want is positive relations with Russia but that does mean diplomatically confronting them with the evidence both of what happened in Salisbury and of course the more recent cyber issues that come up,” he said.