The National Cyber Security Centre say that Russia has been warned by UK and its allies against further destructive cyber attacks.

According to a press release from the NCSC, the UK has exposed malicious cyber activity from Russia’s GRU military intelligence service against organisations involved in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games before they were postponed.

“The activity involved cyber reconnaissance by the GRU targeting officials and organisations involved in the Games, which had been due to take place in Tokyo during the summer. The incidents were the latest in a campaign of Russian malicious activity against the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the UK also today revealing details of GRU targeting of the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, Republic of 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. Details were released after the US Department of Justice announced criminal charges against Russian military intelligence officers working for the GRU’s cyber unit for conducting cyber attacks against the 2018 Winter Games and other cyber attacks.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has issued a statement making clear that the Russian government cannot act with impunity.

Paul Chichester, the NCSC’s Director of Operations, said:

“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. We will continue to work with our allies to ensure that we are the hardest possible target for those that seek to cause disruption and harm in cyberspace.”

The NCSC say that in the attacks on the 2018 Games, the GRU’s cyber unit attempted to disguise itself as North Korean and Chinese hackers when it targeted the opening ceremony. It went on to target broadcasters, a ski resort, Olympic officials and sponsors of the games.

“The GRU deployed data-deletion malware against the Winter Games IT systems and targeted devices across the Republic of Korea using VPNFilter.”

The NCSC assesses that the incident was “intended to sabotage the running of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, as the malware was designed to wipe data from and disable computers and networks”.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 months ago

Sort of on-topic for this article I just saw this article on the BBC News site about an upcoming book about Bletchley Park “Behind the Enigma” by Professor (of history & also fellow of the Centre for Military & Strategic Studies) John Ferris of the University of Calgary who was apparently given good access to GCHQ historical archives. The guy also has a PhD in war studies from Kings College London so does seem to have some depth of expertise in the subject matter. Judging from the later parts of the interview in the BBC article about the book (… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Julian

Yes I read that. GCHQs breaking of the Argentinean traffic has been detailed before, such as when contractors were at Benhall repairing the roof as staff worked on intercepted signals!

It also suggests the role of Bletchley should be downplayed, which is fair as it did not win the war itself.

8 months ago

Yes. Intelligence on its own isn’t much use unless you have the capability to act on it. Bletchley did a great job of providing the intelligence but many other brave people then acted on it.