The British government has accused the Russian FSB of attempting to interfere in the UK political processes through cyberattacks.
The UK government said a Russian hackers’ group stole data through cyber-attacks on British individuals, which was later made public, including material linked to the UK 2019 election.
The BBC reports that Deputy Foreign Secretary Leo Docherty announced in the House of Commons that two individuals from the Star Blizzard hacker group were sanctioned, one of whom is an active FSB officer.
The Center 18 unit of the Russian FSB controls this group.
The British Foreign Office summoned Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin. He was unavailable after being summoned, but British officials met with the Russian embassy’s deputy head of mission and expressed the London’s deep concern about the alleged cyber-attacks, BBC reported.
Accusers claim that the Russian hacker group linked to FSB has carried out hundreds of targeted hacker attacks on British politicians, civil servants, think tank employees, journalists, academics, and other public figures.
The hackers targeted individuals’ private emails after conducting thorough research and creating fake accounts that impersonated their contacts.
It is believed that this group focused on hacking the data, while others disseminated it through various channels.
The United States is also expected to announce actions against this group.
“Russia is targeting the democratic process in the UK. This group has obtained a huge amount of data. This information is being used to undermine the West in various ways,” Western officials said.
On behalf of the EU, EU Chief Diplomat Josep Borrell condemned malicious cyber interference in electoral processes and institutions after the UK’s statements accusing the FSB.
“Cyber attacks threatening the core of democracies are unacceptable. We share the concern expressed by the U.K. and other partners. We are ready and determined to protect and defend our electoral and political processes”, Josep Borrell wrote on X.
The EU High Representative noted that the EU countries are closely monitoring potential attempts at cyberattacks to influence democratic processes in the EU, in particular in the context of the upcoming elections.
“The EU and its member states share the serious concerns of the United Kingdom and other partners, as set out in the statements of December 7, and express their full solidarity with them. Activities that threaten the integrity, security, democratic values and principles, and the very foundations of democratic states are unacceptable,” said Josep Borrell.
In February, a person posing as one of his employees hacked Stewart McDonald’s email, according to his claim as a member of the British Parliament. To prevent any leaked emails, McDonald publicly announced the hacking of his email by someone posing as one of his employees. They never appeared.
The United Kingdom has accused Russia of interfering in the 2019 elections after documents on US-UK trade were stolen and leaked from Conservative MP Liam Fox, but the responsible party has not yet been identified by the UK.
Earlier, The Guardian reported that hackers linked to Russia and China had hacked into Britain’s most dangerous nuclear facility, Sellafield. It has been hacked into by cyber groups closely linked to Russia and China, the Guardian claimed.
The media discovered that the UK authorities do not know when the IT systems were first compromised. But sources said breaches were first detected in 2015, when experts realised sleeper malware that can be used to spy or attack systems had been embedded in Sellafield’s digital networks.
Great Britain has repeatedly warned that hackers supporting Russia are seeking to disrupt or destroy the country’s critical infrastructure.