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Russia denies latest US, UK hacking allegations

A man poses inside a server room at an IT company in this June 19, 2017 illustration photo. (By Reuters)

Russia has dismissed the “unfounded” hacking accusations leveled against it by the United States and Britain.

“We categorically deny the involvement of any Russian state structures in attacks on ‘government and private facilities in the United States and abroad,’” the Russian Embassy in the United States said in a Facebook post on Friday.

“We emphasize that fighting against cybercrime is an inherent priority for Russia and an integral part of its state policy to combat all forms of crime,” it added.

This came after Washington and London issued a joint advisory on Thursday alleging that Russian spies accused of interfering in the 2016 US presidential election had spent much of the past two years abusing virtual private networks (VPNs) to target hundreds of organizations worldwide.

The two governments claimed that the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) had been using “brute force” hacking techniques to target the organizations, primarily based in the US and Europe, and included multiple government and military agencies.

The embassy expressed hope that the United States would refrain from making further “unfounded” allegations and instead focus on working with Russia to strengthen international information security, and to combat cybercrime.

“Besides, it’s high time to put things in order on the American soil, from where constant attacks on critical infrastructure in Russia emerge,” it added.

This is not the first time Russia has been accused of waging cyber warfare against the United States.

Back in May, hackers allegedly breached the network of Colonial Pipeline, and stole nearly 100GB of data in two hours. The ransomware attack forced the company to shut down a gasoline and diesel pipeline, which spans more than 5,500 miles and transports about 45% of all fuel consumed on the US East Coast.

US President Joe Biden stated at the time that the cyberattack had not been the work of Russia, but then said that Moscow bore “some responsibility.”

His remarks came as several US media outlets blamed the ransomware attack on a cyber-criminal gang dubbed “DarkSide,” which they alleged was linked to Russia.

Russia denied the accusations.

Over the past year, some 2,400 ransomware attacks have hit American corporate, local, and federal offices in extortion plots that lock up victims’ data.

The US has also accused Russia of interference in the 2020 US presidential election, a charge that Moscow has denied.

Back in April, the UK accused Russia of involvement in “malign activity,” following an alleged cyber security attack on SolarWinds. The British Foreign Office also in a statement called Russia “the most acute threat to the UK’s national and collective security.”

The Russian Embassy in London said at the time that the UK was attempting to sound like an important global actor in the post-Brexit era by making such assertions about Russia, adding that the accusations against Russia were unfounded and lacked evidence.

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