05 April 2020,   02:14
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GRU’s large scale cyberattack and unprecedented international support

International support

A number of European countries have joined the U.S. and the UK in condemning Russia’s cyberattack against Georgia carried out in October of last year.

According to the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, this reckless conduct demonstrates once again Russia’s disrespect for the norms of responsible state behavior as well as reduces stability in cyberspace: “As a result of practising unlawful cyber operations, Russia should be held accountable according to existing international norms and treaties. The recent malicious cyber operations are part of Russia’s increased hybrid and subversive activities, which include conducting illegal elections in the Georgian occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, the worsening situation along the occupation line and intensified disinformation campaigns. Cyberattacks and other active measures conducted by the Russian Intelligence Services in the territories of Georgia as well as the European Union and NATO Allies are unacceptable and must stop”.
 
“We share concerns about cyber operations in Georgia. Respect for norms, rules and principles for responsible state behavior is essential to maintain international peace and stability in cyberspace”, - reads the statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

Poland shares the position of international partners that “irresponsible and malicious” cyber activities of Russia, “undermining the international stability and sovereignty of other countries, must be exposed and strongly condemned”: “Together with our EU and NATO partners, we are ready to continue our collaboration with Georgia to increase its resilience against cyber and hybrid threats”.

Denmark’s Foreign Office also responded to and condemned the cyberattacks carried out by Russia’s military intelligence service against Georgia: “UK and US attribute the serious and disruptive cyber-attacks against Georgia to Russia’s military intelligence service (GRU). DK shares deep concern about Russia’s disruptive cyber activities and will continue to promote a peaceful, free, open and secure cyberspace”.

U.S. Department of Defense pledges its support to Georgia and calls on Russia to stop harmful actions in the country.
“This attack is another example of how Russia’s malicious actions undermine transparency and stability, weaken the international order and violate the sovereignty of its neighbours. The United States’ standpoint remains clear – we will defend the core interests of our partners and allies, and will place the responsibility on the Russian Federation for its destabilizing activity,” the statement reads. The Pentagon has joined the international community that attitude the responsibility for this cyber-attacks to intelligence services of the Russian Federation. We pledge our support to Georgia and its people and will continue to support Georgia to enhance its security and resilience”, - said Pentagon spokeswoman Carla Gleason.

 

Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement

The Foreign Ministry of Russia issued a statement, responding the situation with the large-scale cyberattack on Georgia.
According to the Russian MFA, this is “dissemination of clearly staged and politically motivated information”.
“In connection with allegations by the Georgian authorities, the United States, the United Kingdom and a number of European countries about Russia’s large-scale cyberattacks against Georgian internet sites, servers and operating systems, we would like to point out the following: this is dissemination of clearly staged and politically motivated information.
There is not, and cannot be, any evidence of Russian officials participation in harmful activities in Georgia’s electronic networks.
This is the synchronized propaganda action of Washington, London, Tbilisi and others. It took four months to identify the Russian incident, which allegedly took place on October 28, 2019. All allegations remain within „highly likely“.
It is unfortunate that Georgia itself does not want to give up the line of demonizing Russia and to learn a lesson from last year’s crisis. All of this casts further shadow over the already complicated bilateral relations. We remain convinced that overcoming disagreements and continuing the process of normalization is in the best interests of Georgian and Russian people. We understand that there are forces, who do not want it at all”, - reads the statement of Russian MFA.


International Media

Georgia States Computers Hit By Cyberattack. The article with such title was published by The Wall Street Journal. According to the author, the “U.S. and Britain joined Georgia in blaming Russia for a large-scale cyberattack that knocked out thousands of government, private and media websites in the Caucasus country in October”.

The Washington Post also wrote about the cyber-attack carried out by Russia against Georgia. The article reads that the U.S. joined a chorus of countries on Thursday in blaming Russia for a major cyberattack on the Republic of Georgia, pledging to hold the Kremlin accountable. The attack knocked thousands of websites offline, including those of the president, local government officials and television channels. According to article, the U.S. response included statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Pentagon and blamed the Oct. 28 attack on the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, commonly known as the GRU. Pompeo’s statement specifically blamed a Russian hacking unit known as Sandworm and for the first time tied it to the GRU.

British Security services have blamed the Russian intelligence “Sandworm” unit for a cyberattack on Georgia, amid fears it could be the start of a wider destabilization campaign, as The Telegraph reports.

The Interior Minister - There was a Russian trace in all of this 

“There was a large-scale cyberattack. We will work with our colleagues and partners. I cannot go into details. We have openly said that there was a Russian trace. We will decide whether to launch an investigation or not. This issue [of cyberattack] is topical one in the XXI century not just in Georgia but throughout the world. These threats grow in the face of development of technologies. We are working with our partners to improve it, to ensure more control in order to avoid cyberattack”, - said Vakhtang Gomelauri.

Giorgi Gakharia - Cyberspace does not only contain risks for Georgia, but it is a global challenge

“Georgia, with the support of strategic partners, has launched an investigation into the cyberattack and the process is continuing…We have finished talking about it. Now is a time to finish speculations on this topic. This is a matter of national security in the form of hybrid use of force, and we are working with our strategic partners. Cyberspace does not only contain risks for Georgia, but it is a global challenge. We need to take appropriate responsibility to overcome it. Therefore, we will do everything quietly and peacefully, just like a worthy member of the Western family. Great results have been achieved through the joint efforts, various actions and investigations conducted by our strategic partners... And yes, this attack came from Russia”, - said Giorgi Gakharia.

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