USA indicts seven Russian intel officers in alleged doping scandal hack

Mikhail Svetlov via Getty Images               The NCSC has judged the Kremlin is behind the actions of the GRU

"We are not seeking to escalate, but we will defend ourselves, partly by shining a light and partly by sharing the information we have in a new way".

The Netherlands has accused four Russians of plotting to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which had been probing the chemical attack on a Russian ex-spy in the UK.

Russian Federation on Thursday faced a coordinated barrage of accusations from the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, that claimed Moscow was behind a slew of recent malicious cyber attacks around the world.

The British ambassador to the Netherlands said that the men caught with spy gear outside The Hague-based OPCW, for example, were from the very same GRU section (Unit 26165) accused by American investigators of having broken into the Democratic National Committee's email and sowing havoc during the 2016 USA presidential election.

In July 2016 WADA released a report describing Russia's systematic subversion of the drug testing process before, during and after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Over the summer, a security company hired by the Democratic National Convention tells the DNC that they have been successfully infiltrated by hackers for more than year.

The Justice Department accused the hackers of using fictitious personas, proxy servers, spearfishing emails and malware to take control of servers. Gen. Onno Eichelsheim, named the four alleged officers as Aleksei Morenets and Evgenii Serebriakov - who had very similar passport numbers, he said - Oleg Sotnikov and Alexey Minin.

In September, they flew to Lausanne, Switzerland, where WADA was hosting a conference at a hotel, and managed to steal the credentials of an official with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport by hacking the hotel Wi-Fi.

According to United States investigators, agents from the GRU's Unit 26165 broke into the Democratic National Committee's emails, wreaking havoc during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Fancy Bear is a nickname for a GRU hacking group.

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According to authorities, Russian nationals flooded the media with the private medical information of 250 athletes from 30 countries.

GRU, Britain said, was nearly certainly behind the BadRabbit and World Anti-Doping Agency attacks of 2017, the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016 and the theft of emails from a United Kingdom -based TV station in 2015.

Three of the defendants were also charged in the hacking of U.S. persons involved in the 2016 election, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division John Demers said during a news conference, but the current indictment does not arise out of special counsel Robert Mueller's work.

"The cyber operation targeting the OPCW is unacceptable", said Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld in a statement.

The indictments also include charges of money laundering, using virtual currencies like bitcoin, wire fraud and identify theft.

He did not say if the offered capabilities would be used in response to British and Dutch claims that Russia's GRU attempted cyberattacks on the global chemical weapons watchdog and other targets. Britain blames the secretive military intelligence unit for the nerve agent attack in March on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury.

Dutch authorities escorted four Russian intelligence officers out of the country hours after the vehicle they had rented was found parked near the OPCW's building in The Hague, its trunk full of gear for hacking WiFi networks. The Russians left behind their rental vehicle.

The indictment alleges that the seven defendants, all of whom are members of Russia's military intelligence agency, sought to sow disinformation and create an influence campaign as retaliation for the exposure of a Russian state-sponsored athlete doping programme.

On Thursday, Australian and British spies endorsed the American intelligence community's reported attribution of the catastrophic June 2017 cyberattack on Ukraine to the GRU.

Britain accused the GRU of hacking email accounts at a "small UK-based TV station", stealing their contents.

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