Ciaran Martin, the head of the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), claimed that Russian hackers have targeted the UK energy network, telecoms and the media in the past year.
“I can’t get into precise details of intelligence matter, but I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Centre over the past year, has included attacks on the UK media, telecommunications and energy sectors,” Martin said.
According to Martin, the NCSC is “actively engaging” international partners, industry and civil society to tackle the threat. The threat, as usual, was not specified.
“Russia is seeking to undermine the international system. That much is clear. The PM made the point on Monday night — international order as we know it is in danger of being eroded,” he added.
On Monday, November 13, Prime Minister of the UK Theresa May accused Russia of meddling in elections, hacking Western Governments and pursuing its interests “at any cost” as she warned Vladimir Putin: “We know what you are doing and you will not succeed.” Addressing the Lords Mayor’s Banquet, the Prime Minister warned the UK will work with allies to “take the necessary action” to ensure the state does not succeed in its campaign to “sow discord in the West” and cause a split among NATO allies. She also accused Russia of “weaponising information” and “planting fake stories and photo-shopped images” in an attempt to undermine the West.
Russian Foreign Ministry responded to May’s accusations by saying that they demonstrate a “fundamental lack of comprehension of current processes in the world.”
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov added that these accusations are another step in the ongoing campaign against Russia and the Russian media.
“We have gotten used to the fact that some of our Western partners have nothing to do rather than accusing Russian media of meddling in other states’ affairs and proclaiming it foreign agents,” Lavrov said.
Since the 2016 US Presidential elections, Russian hackers became the ultimate boogeymen, allowing various administrations to lay blame on “Russian interference” for whatever goes wrong, without need for any proof. This sentiment is still actively fanned by the new reports, one of which surfaced on November 2. It claimed that Russian hackers, in addition to allegedly influencing the elections. had a “hitlist” consisting of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, US defense contractors and thousands of others.
On November 13, Spanish officials stated that they believe Russian-based groups used online social media to heavily promote Catalonia’s independence referendum last month in an attempt to destabilize Spain, with broad claims like “much of this came from Russian territory.” In this particular case state and private-sector Russian groups were accused of using Twitter, Facebook and other Internet sites to massively publicize the separatist cause and swing public opinion behind it before the contentious October 1 Catalan independence referendum.