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UK Says Russia Launched Cyberattacks Against 2020 Olympic, Paralympic Games

The United Kingdom on Monday exposed and condemned cyberattacks that the Russian military intelligence service GRU allegedly launched against organizations involved in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games that were set to take place in Tokyo this summer, but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GRU is known for launching numerous hacking campaigns for the benefit of Moscow, including high-profile attacks such as those involving the BlackEnergy, Industroyer, and NotPetya malware families.

On Monday, the United States announced charges against six officers of the GRU, which is also said to have orchestrated the cyberattacks on the PyeongChang Winter Olympics with the Olympic Destroyer malware. Russia has also been blamed for attacks on Georgian companies and government organizations.

On Monday, the UK officially accused the GRU of launching malicious cyber-operations targeting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including the now-postponed 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) assesses with high confidence that these attacks were carried out by the GRU’s Main Centre for Specialist Technologies (GTsST), also known as Sandworm and VoodooBear,” the NCSC says.

GTsST, which is known by its field post number 74455, is also referred to as BlackEnergy Group, Telebots, Iron Viking, Quedagh, Electrum, and G0034.

The Russian hackers attempted to disguise themselves as North Korean and Chinese threat actors and targeted the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Games, as well as broadcasters, Olympic officials, a ski resort, and sponsors of the 2018 games, the UK says.

According to the NCSC, the 2018 attack was meant to sabotage the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games through the use of malware meant to disable computers and networks and wipe data.

“The GRU’s actions against the Olympic and Paralympic Games are cynical and reckless. We condemn them in the strongest possible terms. The UK will continue to work with our allies to call out and counter future malicious cyber-attacks,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

Furthermore, the Russian military intelligence service is blamed for spear-phishing attacks targeting the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in 2018.

“We condemn these attacks carried out by the GRU and fully support the criminal charges announced today by the US Department of Justice. These attacks have had very real consequences around the world – both to national economies and the everyday lives of people,” Paul Chichester, the NCSC’s Director of Operations, said.

Related: U.S. Charges Russian Intelligence Officers for NotPetya, Industroyer Attacks

Related: EU Sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'Cyber Attackers'

Related: Russia Hacked Ukrainian Gas Firm in Trump Impeachment: US Cyber Firm

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