Former British intelligence chief Richard Dearlove and then-International Trade Minister Liam Fox are on the list of people who fell victim to a cyber attack carried out by a hacker group linked to the Russian Federal Security Service, British media reported on Friday.
On Thursday, the British Foreign Office said that the FSB-led hacking group Snow Blizzard, also known as the Callisto Group, Seaborgium and ColdRiver, had been trying to interfere in British politics since at least 2015 by carrying out cyberattacks, stealing confidential documents and trying to eavesdrop on private conversations. Its targets were politicians, civil servants, journalists, experts from think tanks and employees of non-governmental organizations.
As “The Guardian” writes, Russian hackers wanted, among other things, cause a Brexit scandal or make it more difficult for European non-governmental organizations to investigate war crimes in Ukraine. According to the daily, they also allegedly stole trade documents between Great Britain and… USAwhich leaked before elections in the UK in 2019.
Former head of MI6 victim of cyber attack
As the media, including The Times and the Daily Telegraph, reported on Friday, one of the most prominent victims of the attack was Richard Dearlove, head of MI6 in 1999-2004, whose emails were stolen and then fabricated to create the belief that there is a conspiracy to overturn the Brexit deal.
In turn, documents regarding the trade agreement being negotiated with the United States at that time were stolen from the e-mail of Liam Fox, Minister of International Trade in 2016-2019. The documents surfaced before the House of Commons elections in 2019 and were pointed to by the then leader of the opposition Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, as alleged evidence that the Conservative Party intended to privatize the public health service and allow American companies to join it.
Snow Blizzard also targeted MPs, who often expressed support for Ukraine and emphasized its importance FOR THIS.
Two people subject to sanctions
In connection with the disclosed attack, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs imposed sanctions on Thursday on two members of Snow Blizzard – Ruslan Peretyatka and Andrei Koryniec and summoned the ambassador Russia Aleksander Kielin to express protest against attempts to interfere in political and democratic processes in Great Britain.
In January, Reuters found that Snow Blizzard had targeted three U.S. laboratories involved in nuclear research. In a telephone conversation with the agency on Thursday, a senior U.S. official also confirmed that hackers also carried out a successful cyber attack on a Department of Energy employee.
Moscow claims that there is no evidence to confirm the allegations of an espionage campaign by Russian hackers and calls them anti-Russian propaganda.
Main photo source: YURI KOCHETKOV/PAP/EPA