The UK and international partners have called out the Russian Intelligence Services for a campaign of malicious cyber activity attempting to interfere in UK politics and democratic processes.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – assesses that Star Blizzard, a group that has been identified using cyber operations to target high-profile individuals and entities, is almost certainly subordinate to Centre 18 of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

The malicious activity has included:

  • Targeting, including spear-phishing, of UK parliamentarians from multiple political parties, from at least 2015 through to this year;
  • The compromise of UK-US trade documents that were leaked ahead of the 2019 General Election;
  • The 2018 compromise of the Institute for Statecraft, a UK thinktank whose work included initiatives to defend democracy against disinformation, and the more recent hack of its founder Christopher Donnelly, whose account was compromised from December 2021; in both instances documents were subsequently leaked.
  • Targeting of universities, journalists, public sector, NGOs and other Civil Society organisations, many of whom play a key role in UK democracy.

The group has also selectively leaked information obtained through its operations and amplified the release in line with Russian confrontation goals, including to undermine trust in politics in the UK and likeminded states

The UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has described these attempts to interfere in UK politics as “completely unacceptable” seeking to threaten our democratic processes.

Paul Chichester, NCSC Director of Operations, said:

“Defending our democratic processes is an absolute priority for the NCSC and we condemn any attempt which seeks to interfere or undermine our values. Russia’s use of cyber operations to further its attempts at political interference is wholly unacceptable and we are resolute in calling out this pattern of activity with our partners. Individuals and organisations which play an important role in our democracy must bolster their security and we urge them to follow the recommended steps in our guidance to help prevent compromises.”

You can read more here.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago

Given the amount of online fraud and other cybercrime that the UK public is subjected to, you would think GCHQ would be interested. In 2021 fraud is said to have cost people here £200m and many attacks originate from overseas.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

You might think the Home office might take more of an interest rather than looking to the military to solve policing issues however I believe they have been distracted trying to fly 200 people to Rwanda.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

I would just want to correct you a second there Jim..I think you meant “ distracted by not being able to fly even 1 person to Rwanda”.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yes 200 is the max but as you say not even sent 1 😀

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Not even a Rwandan who has had his asylum application fail😂😂😂😂

TR
TR
1 month ago

Yet the UK government and intelligence agencies refuse to investigate or report on Russian interference with the Brexit referendum. Can’t imagine why?

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  TR

Oh yes you, and we, can imagine why. Except that we don’t have to imagine, we know. Russian influence was major in the Leave vote. This is is well established.

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
1 month ago
Reply to  TR

Because it’s a remainer fever dream.

TR
TR
1 month ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Clearly because Russian intelligence who is known to have interferred with the US Election plus they were known to wish to undermine the EU post EU sanctions over Ukraine in 2014 even going so far as to introduce by widespread bombing in Syria to generate refugees. Farage has known links to Julian Assange who was known to be linked to the FSB and the funding of the Brexit campaign has been particularly opaque. Plus by making the Right wing of the conservative party the dominant faction the competency of government over the past 8 years has sharply declined not to… Read more »

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
1 month ago
Reply to  TR

Saying “it is known” while providing nothing but conspiracy piled on conspiracy doesn’t make it true. The EU and the Tories were quite capable of being incompetent without any outside help. Also, isn’t it a crime to question the veracity of US elections?

Jonno
Jonno
1 month ago
Reply to  TR

Because Brexit is a settled matter and we aren’t going to start smearing Johnson as has happened with Trump are we? Or are we going to start a bogus Russia Hoax on him too?

TR
TR
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonno

If it’s a Russia hoax why is there an FBI’s most wanted poster up for the people who did it? Google it. It’s not smearing it happened and if you don’t believe having done it in the US they wouldn’t do it in the UK then that seems highly unlikely. Putin is a trained KGB officer undermining democratic systems is what he’s spent his life doing, Johnson may not have been directly involved but he’s hardly the sharpest tool in the box as are most of the brexit bunch they could easily have been played and manipulated by someone. Which… Read more »

Andrew Munro
Andrew Munro
1 month ago
Reply to  TR

It does not need Russia to undermine our love of Europe, there done it them self’s, we should set another SOE and set the EU on fire for how they have treated us .(I voted to stay.)

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
1 month ago
Reply to  TR

Schröedingers Brexiteers. Simultaneously the most devious and cunning intelligence operatives and the dumbest most easily played room temperature IQs. Same with the Russian Army being both a comical mess that we needn’t be concerned about while such a giant threat we need to push NATO up to her frontier. Typical pilpul.

TR
TR
1 month ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Where did I say there was anything intelligent about the brexiteers, I don’t think it occurred to any of them that they were undermining NATO.
Similarly I’d be very careful about saying the Russian army is a comical mess – we’re unable to match their shell production, they’ve remedied their logistics issues in the last year. UK is cutting our air defence fleet and has made no atempt to rearm, similarly Europe, everyone is expecting the US to bail them out but nobody has talked about what happens if the US doesn’t turn up or is distracted.

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
1 month ago

Wasn’t leaking the UK-US trade agreement documents actually in the public interest though? Obviously not why they did it but still inadvertently did us a favour there.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

That rights their is the problem, right wing politicians are happy when they leak on the left wing and vice a versa.

No government leak is in the public interest.

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

No trade deals should be secret from the people.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

The U.K. government, politians and press trashed any to do with the EU for years. That alone created a massive negative around Europe.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago

Looking at the US news channels and alleged news channels, there is both significant home grown and possible foreign misinformation. Social media being a major route for the amplification of conspiracy and plain old lies. If the celebration of kaputins criminal acts in Ukraine is anything to attend upon the crimlin trolls are obvious and supported by MAGA people who follow the wannabe dictator and deluded fantasist who has been explicit that he will be a dictator. There’s no doubt that cyber is increasing in threat both to the correct operation of critical systems and processes, and to the public… Read more »

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

I think it would be a lovely narrative to think that it was foreign enemies who made America so divided but the truth is it’s their own people doing all of this. The gaping divide in US politics is the biggest single threat to the western alliance. The constant failed attempts to turn the EU into a foreign policy entity are the second. Obviously the UK is apparently s**t at everything and not any kind of great power and all the nihilism spewed on here by so many (Brit’s and Russian trolls alike) but it’s worth pointing out that the… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

What a load of complete bollocks. Where do you dream this stuff up?

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Another hard hitting analysis from David Lloyd 😀

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

They just keep coming, don’t they?
I had a perfectly reasonable conversation with him a few days ago

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Forensic. How does he do it!? 🙄

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I thought it was quite a reasoned argument. I’d like to see a real times figures comparison between 1939-1941 USA funding, adjusted for today’s monetary value Vs now.
But then compare that to equivalence from EU.
Bare in mind the EU as an entity does have nearly the same monetary clout as the USA.
And yet… They are miles away from the USA currently in terms of donations.Hamstrubg by Putin’s lapdog in Hungary who spoils all and every effort to increase support to Ukraine.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I looked into it and the USA and the U.K. gave more support GDP value to the Soviet Union than has been given to Ukraine.
Just a little part of what the USA gave: United States provided the Soviet Union with more than 400,000 jeeps and trucks, 14,000 aircraft, 8,000 tractors and construction vehicles, and 13,000 battle tanks.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

“significant home grown and possible foreign misinformation. Social media being a major route for the amplification of conspiracy and plain old lies” I think it would be a lovely narrative to think that it was foreign enemies who made America so divided but the truth is it’s their own people doing all of this.The gaping divide in US politics is the biggest single threat to the western alliance. The MAGA cult is based on power gained by exploiting the ignorance of the ‘Base’ and adding misinformation to trigger their reactions. Thus the wannabe dictator posts on social media in the… Read more »

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
1 month ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

That’s a lot of words to say “people I don’t agree with should be locked up and denied rights”.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Nope, it’s a lot of words to say that there is a democratic process available to agree or disagree but corruption and sedition are not part of it.

Government For The People, not by a dictator…

Cj
Cj
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

👏👏

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

The UK press doesn’t need much help in stoking up so called righteous anger and resentment among their readers. At a guess I’d say that 20% of what you see on their front pages is actual news and 80% is material selected or written with the intention of triggering ill thought through emotional reactions. This is easily done with web ‘front pages’ which blur the distinction between news and opinion. Our ‘free press’ is using its freedom to manipulate. Divide and conquer has always been the tactic of the enemy, without or within.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul.P
lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

You could say that it’s the Attention business model that leads to Influence and Commerce generally. So if FB, eB, and X are free to do that, why shouldn’t legacy media be free to do that as well. After all the human condition and the psychology insights are in common so should be available. Whilst sustainability is often seen as an environmental concern because buying decisions have consequences, there is just as valid a sustainability concern for our government and political process. There is some logic to align a channel or ‘paper’ with a political viewpoint since humans have confirmation… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

The issue for me is that certain sectors of the press are not calling out BS; they are creating it! If you repeat a lie often enough, you yourself will come to believe it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul.P
lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Indeed and whilst they have freedom to execute their business model there is also a responsibility for best practice journalism (IPSO Editors code of conduct).

The ‘Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave’, means that your freedom depends on being brave enough to defend it.

I suggest that we are all free to call BS on nonsense, and that it is our responsibility to do that with determination. At least as often as the lies are repeated…

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

.

Last edited 1 month ago by lonpfrb
lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Here is an analysis of the hybrid war approach that the Crimlin uses to succeed the Cold War i.e. their Peace Dividend. Search “Putin will not Stop! Europe, dig the Trenches!” in YT. Use [CC] with Settings Auto-Translate to English for the full understanding of the content. It’s obvious that #45 the Tangerine Toddler is supported by kaputin as an effective way to stop #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇲 and expand the ruzzian empire in Europe. Cold war was an easy peace so long as you weren’t occupied however the hybrid war is difficult and across all domains. We need to wake up!… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

I suspect the security services are on the case but you are right, it’s going to be a long and difficult fight.
The Ukrainians who have first hand experience of living under Russian domination) consistently make the point that Putin will not stop. He wants all of Ukraine and has put the Russian economy on a war footing to achieve his objective. He could very well succeed unless the West does the same. Agree we need a reality check.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

This is really important to be honest. Both Russia and china are sculpting an environment that will make it easier for them to win any conflict with the west. Fundamental to any victory in a war that goes beyond a short campaign is the will of both the nation’s population and its political class to accept the pain and loss that comes with war…make no mistake china and Russia are working to make a victory in a long painful war more likely by: 1) attempting to undermine the strength of the wests strategic alliance. In this they very much support… Read more »

Greg Ashley
Greg Ashley
1 month ago

When your democracy looks almost as if its a one party state, then the damage has already been done.

John
John
1 month ago

After using 77 to “nudge” the population during Covid? The revelation last week RAF officers were also involved? And the recent article here on so called conspiracy theories by psychologists from universities? I basically trust no media, or government department to be truthful. We used to have real, professional investigative journos. Now we have a controlled media, leaked government intentions and click bait. And before any biter starts? I am a veteran. I also work with veterans on a voluntary basis, very, very few of them believe anything that comes out of political or media mouths. That is where we… Read more »

Andy
Andy
1 month ago
Reply to  John

It’s good to read many sensible comments on this site.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago

Not related but it seems the moment Russian airforce tried to put a strike package together using 3 or more of their best SU 34 strike bombers they lost 3 in one mission. Ouch. That’s going to hurt, not sure the Russian airforce can easily replace those losses.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

So seems they’ve lost 24-25 of their available 148 active aircraft thus far, those numbers of losses will start to weigh on the Russian air forces abilities to wage an offensive air campaign

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

The report from the Dnipro river crossing is that the air launched gliding bomb strikes had paused and only now restarted probably with a single aircraft at risk.

Given the end of US support funding from 2023, and no funding yet for 2024, AFU may be keeping their Patriot PAC3 missiles for more important targets…

Deep strikes in Crimea continue on four military infrastructure locations including the Command alleged to contain Gerasimov.