Russian military intelligence (GRU) has been accused by the UK, US Australia and the Netherlands of carrying out a series of cyber attacks on targets worldwide.
These include an attack on the Netherlands headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international chemical weapons watchdog investigating the source of the chemical weapons used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March this year.
Laptops carried around the world by GRU agents to conduct different operations, seized by Dutch authorities earlier this year when the agents were intercepted, also revealed evidence of a wide range of attacks implicating the GRU.
Intercepted agents were also carrying things like receipts that strongly indicated that they were GRU agents.
These include an attack on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Lausanne, and attacks on organisations investigating chemical weapons usage in Syria and the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014.
In the UK, Russian military intelligence has been accused of attempted attacks this year on Foreign and Commonwealth systems, the Ministry of Defence's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down, and targeting OPCW staff with phishing emails.
Dutch: you're a spy— the grugq (@thegrugq) October 4, 2018
GRU: I am hacker
Dutch: what about this receipt from GRU HQ to Moscow airport?
GRU: I am Russian hacker
Russia has also been accused by the Canadian government of being behind security breaches of WADA headquarters in Montreal, Canada after the country's athletes were banned from the most recent Olympic Games for institutionalised doping.
And this afternoon, the US has charged what it claims are seven Russian intelligence officers with hacking athletics anti-doping agencies, a nuclear energy company, and an international organisation investigating claims of chemical weapons usage in Syria.
The US indictment suggests that, while the GRU's first line of attack was remote, if that failed it would attempt "on site" or "close access" hacking operations, with GRU hackers travelling overseas to target their victim organisations' WiFi networks.
Russia's GRU has also been accused of targeting agencies investigating the 2014 downing of a Malaysian Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine.
The shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines plane had been blamed on Russia-supported rebels in eastern Ukraine, who are alleged to have accidentally shot down the Malaysian Airlines plan using a Buk missile system supplied by Russia.
Equipment found in the boot of the Russian hire car. It was parked close to the OPCW with its boot facing the OPCW pic.twitter.com/PIG5QDPKQa— Alistair Bunkall (@AliBunkallSKY) October 4, 2018
The Skripal affair has resulted in many of the GRU's foreign agents being exposed when, after the finger of blame was pointed at two Russian nationals known to have been in Salisbury at the time of the attempted murders, GRU agents' false passports were leaked to the press.
The GRU had acquired passports under false names en bloc for its operatives - all using successive passport numbers, including those of the two suspects, making them easy to identify when the database was leaked to journalists in Russia.
"This attempt, to access the secure systems of an international organisation working to rid the world of chemical weapons, demonstrates again the GRU's disregard for the global values and rules that keep us all safe," British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte said in a joint statement.
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