European States concerned about the Kremlin’s “information war”.

“I would like to ask the head of MI5 if he also sees the hand of the Kremlin in the appointment of Boris Johnson as head of the Foreign Office.”

Maria Zakharova — spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry.

maria-zakharova

Maria Zakharova — spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry.

According to European News media, Russia has launched a cyber-invasion of the old continent. “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!” Follow us in Twitter: @Intel_Today

RELATED POST: International Law and Cyber Warfare. From the Tallinn Manual to a Digital Geneva Convention?

UK — Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, told the Guardian that hostile state actors were a growing threat, and Russia was the main concern.

“Russia is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways – involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. Russia is at work across Europe and in the UK today. It is MI5’s job to get in the way of that.”

“Russia increasingly seems to define itself by opposition to the west and seems to act accordingly. You can see that on the ground with Russia’s activities in Ukraine and Syria. But there is high-volume activity out of sight with the cyber-threat. Russia has been a covert threat for decades. What’s different these days is that there are more and more methods available.”

RELATED POST: MI6 Alex Younger & BND Bruno Kahl: Russian Hackers Will Target European 2017 Elections

RELATED POST: Former MI6 Chief: ‘ Electronic voting presents serious hacking risk.’

France — France’s primary intelligence agency warned the country’s government this week that Russia has launched a secret operation to try to influence the outcome of the upcoming French presidential election in favor of the far right.

According to the Paris-based weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, France’s Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) has notified the country’s leadership that a covert operation by the Kremlin is already underway, and is expected to intensify in the run-up to April’s election. The spy agency allegedly believes that Russian efforts aim to promote Marine Le Pen, leader of the ultra-right National Front.

the-russians-are-coming

RELATED POST: Dead Man’s Diary: Sarkozy’s 2007 Presidential Election Campaign Funded by Gaddafi

RELATED POST: NSA Hacked French President’s House – UPDATE

[Press Release from WikiLeaks — All major French political parties were targeted for infiltration by the CIA’s human (“HUMINT”) and electronic (“SIGINT”) spies in the seven months leading up to France’s 2012 presidential election.]

Italy — Italian officials suspect Russia of being behind a sustained hacking attack against the Italian foreign ministry last year that compromised email communications and lasted for many months before it was detected.

Italy’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks was exposed earlier this year following the arrest of a brother-sister hacking duo who were accused of trying to illegally gain access to the email accounts of Renzi when he was prime minister, as well as several other prominent Italian politicians and business executives.

Giulio Occhionero and his sister Francesca Maria, who was born in the US and is an American citizen, maintained servers in the US that were seized by the FBI as part of the investigation.

RELATED POST: CIA Covert Ops in Italy Lasted Long After the 1948 Elections (National Security Archive)

Czech Republic — Lubomír Zaorálek, the country’s foreign minister, admitted that his own email account had been breached in a “sophisticated” operation he compared to the onslaught against the Democratic party in the recent US presidential election.

“When I discussed this with the best experts that we have here, they told me that the character of the attack was such that the attack was very sophisticated, that it must have been, according to them, conducted by some foreign state, from the outside,” Zaorálek told a news conference, called after a news site revealed the hack.

“They also told me that the way the attack was done very much resembles the character of attacks against the system of the Democratic party in the United States.”

RELATED POST: Czech Republic: ‘Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats’ set up to fight ‘Fake News’

Poland — Vlado Bizik, a cybersecurity expert with the Prague-based European Values thinktank, said the hack resembled another carried out against the Polish foreign ministry recently, also believed to be Russia’s handiwork.

“The Polish hack was perpetrated by a hard-to-detect Trojan horse,” he said. “Such sophisticated programmes are usually sponsored by state actors and Russia is the one which has the most to gain. I’m quite sure a lot of damage has already been done. They say no classified information was compromised because that was only on the internal system but we don’t know what was being shared outside that system.”

Germany — Bruno Kahl, president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, has warned that the next general election could be targeted by Russian hackers.

“We have evidence that cyber-attacks are taking place that have no purpose other than to elicit political uncertainty,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung in his first interview since he was appointed five months ago.

“The perpetrators are interested in delegitimising the democratic process as such, regardless of who that ends up helping. We have indications that [the attacks] come from the Russian region.

“Being able to attribute it to a state agent is technically difficult but there is some evidence that this is at least tolerated or desired by the state.”

Hans-Georg Maaßen, president of the domestic BfV intelligence agency, said in an interview that cyberspace had become “a place of hybrid warfare” in which Russia was a key player.

RELATED POST: German Intel Agencies first accuse Russia, then investigate and now report: ‘No evidence of Russian disinformation campaign’.

However… A recent joint investigation by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and the Federal Office for Constitutional Protection (BfV) found no evidence that the protests were orchestrated by Russian government or intelligence agencies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not deliberately trying to undermine Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of her impending re-election campaign – or at least, if he is, he is hiding his tracks well. That’s the inconclusive conclusion that Germany’s foreign and domestic intelligence agencies came to last fall, following several months of investigation which was delivered to Merkel’s chief-of-staff Peter Altmaier in the form of a 50-page report. [DW]

The Netherlands — Last week, the Head of Dutch intelligence confirmed in a televised interview that public services and companies were targeted by “hundreds” of cyberattacks coming from Russia — and China — during the last six months.

“Concerned about the role hackers and false news might have played in the United States election, the Dutch government announced on Wednesday that all ballots in next month’s elections would be counted by hand.” NYT 16 Feb 2017

Belgium — Miguel De Bruycker, the Head of the CCSB [Belgium Center for Cyber Security] reacted to the news from the Netherlands:

“We are not observing the same phenomenon in Belgium.”

“There are three pathways at play here: either we are not detecting Russia, or the attacks, the victims of which have been the Netherlands, have not targeted Belgium.

The third possibility is that Dutch intelligence services have been handling attacks in a different way.”

Not too long ago, Belgian major institutions were hacked by a joint GCHQ-NSA operation. Belgium noticed the issue and asked for help… From the Americans.

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!

REFERENCES

Kremlin pours cold water on MI5 chief’s claims of Russian threat  — The Guardian

Russia suspected over hacking attack on Italian foreign ministry  — The Guardian

Czech cyber-attack: Russia suspected of hacking diplomats’ emails — The Guardian

French intelligence warn of Russian meddling in upcoming election — IntelNews

Belgium did not detect Cyber attacks — Brussels Times

This entry was posted in BfV, BND, DGSE, Elections, Europe, MI5, NSA, Ray McGovern, Russia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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