Published: Sun, October 07, 2018
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

DOJ announces new charges against Russian intelligence officers

DOJ announces new charges against Russian intelligence officers

British and Dutch officials have accused the Russian intelligence agency GRU of being behind cyberattacks on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the investigation into a Malaysian airplane that was shot down over Ukraine.

Russian Federation rejected the allegations on Thursday, calling it a "diabolical cocktail" of someone with a "rich imagination".

Dutch authorities said they had disrupted the attempt to hack into the Hague-based OPCW in April, a time when the watchdog was looking into both the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain and chemical strikes in Syria the West has blamed on Russia's ally President Bashar al-Assad.

Ms Bijleveld also accused the men of attempting to access investigation files related to the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine.

The four Russians in the Netherlands were detained on April 13 and expelled to Russia, Dutch Major General Onno Eichelsheim said.

That hacking singled out prominent Democrats in Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with the intention to "release that information on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 and through another entity", according to the Justice Department.

According to a Justice Department press release, a grand jury in Pennsylvania sent the indictment, which says that beginning around December 2014 and up through May 2018, the operatives conducted sophisticated computer hacking operations that affected people in the USA, corporations, global organizations and their employees around the world, "based on their strategic interest to the Russian government". He said it was retaliation for Russian athletes being banned from the Olympics. Evidence suggests that in the same month, GRU agents also logged into Wi-Fi networks near a Lausanne, Switzerland, hotel where a World Anti-Doping Agency conference was held.

"Today we are indicting seven GRU officers for multiple felonies each, including the use of hacking to spread the personal information of hundreds of anti-doping officials and athletes as part of an effort to distract from Russia's state-sponsored doping program", Sessions said.

The NCSC has blamed the GRU for attacks such as the 2017 WADA email leak, which saw the identities of 28 football players who had received a Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) released online.

Indonesian tsunami death toll rises to almost 1,350
But Australia's ambassador to Indonesia is consulting with the country's government on more support, with announcements due soon. More than 800 people were killed when the quake sent a tsunami barreling into the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

According to a secret White House assessment recently cited by "Wired", the attack caused $10bn worth of damage worldwide.

Dutch authorities showed photos including one of a gray rented Citroen with its trunk full of hacking equipment.

After an unsuccessful remote attack, four Russian intelligence officers reportedly traveled to The Hague as part of a "cleanup" unit.

The British government accused Russia's GRU military intelligence agency of "indiscriminate and reckless cyber attacks targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport".

Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with the Soviet-made nerve agent Novichok.

Moscow denied what its Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called a "diabolical perfume cocktail" of allegations by someone with a "rich imagination".

They were named in them as Alekski Morenets and Evgenii Serebriakov, described as a cyber operators, and Oleg Soktnikov and Alexey Minin, who were said to have provided "humint (human intelligence) support".

The Joint Investigation Team headed by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, eventually indicated the plane may have been down by pro-Russian rebels fighting against the Ukrainian government, which Moscow has denied.

Russia's ambassador to the Netherlands was summoned to underline that message, she said.

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