‘Putin’s attacks are drills; practice’ – Diplomat
|JOE MURPHY|The Evening Standard|AIWA! NO!|Russian president Vladimir Putin’s spies are mounting cyber attacks as “pilot projects” in readiness for full-blooded attempts to create chaos in the west, the Government’s former chief security adviser warned today.
Lord Ricketts, a senior former diplomat who served as UK National Security Adviser until 2012, spoke out after Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accused Mr Putin’s foreign military intelligence agency, the GRU, of a wave of cyber attacks across the globe.
Mr Hunt warned of a campaign of “indiscriminate and reckless” cyber strikes targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport.
This morning, Lord Ricketts said he believed the motives varied, but the pattern suggested some were practice runs to test out new cyber warfare technology.
He said: “I think some of the other attacks look very random and I wonder there whether we are not looking at a kind of pilot project, a ‘proof of concept’, where they were seeing what they could do against the occasion when they want to use it more seriously.
“All of these points of the need to call it out.” The GRU is the same intelligence agency which is accused of carrying out the Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury in March.
It is said in intelligence circles to have been encouraged by Mr Putin to adopt a more aggressive approach in recent years.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre said that a number of hackers known to have launched attacks have now been identified as members of the GRU.
He added: “I think for the anti-doping agency, Russia was trying to distract from the very serious allegations about Russian athletes, so they were trying to create smoke and obfuscation at a time when Russia was under pressure.
“In Ukraine I think it is clear that Russia were trying to destabilize Ukraine.”