27 September 2016

Analysis: Chengdu J-20, The Chinese Raptor?

25th September 2016

Putin’s cyber warriors the Fancy Bears targeted government websites and the BBC in the run-in to last year’s election 

A RUSSIAN cyber attack on British government departments and TV broadcasters in the run-up to last year’s general election was thwarted by intelligence agencies, it emerged today.

GCHQ boffins halted the “imminent threat” by Kremlin-backed hackers Fancy Bears – the group behind the leak of Olympic athletes’ doping files.

5 Russian hackers targeted government departments and broadcasters including the BBC in the run-up to the 2015 general election

5 Boffins at the GCHQ spy agency thwarted the cyber attack by Putin’s cyber warriors Fancy Bears

The revelation of the attack on the British election comes amid concerns Russian hackers are attempting to disrupt the US presidential race.

Fancy Bears planned to attack every Whitehall server including the Home Office, Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence, security officials told the Sunday Times.

They were also targeting all the main UK broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.


5 An attack on France’s TV5Monde network claimed on behalf od ISIS by the ‘Cyber-Caliphate’ was traced to the Fancy Bears in Moscow

The GCHQ eavesdropping agency uncovered the threat after probing the group’s successful attack against TV5Monde, one of France’s biggest TV networks, in April last year.

It was feared ISIS had reached new levels in its ability to wage cyber war after all 11 of the French broadcasters channels were take off air and its website was flooded with jihadist propaganda.

But GCHQ traced the hack – claimed by a group calling themselves the “Cyber-Caliphate” – back to Moscow and then uncovered they were planning to hit Britain next.

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Analysts feared that the Putin-sponsored group could “embarrass” pillars of the British state and took defensive measures to protect government departments.

Senior security officials are also understood to have warned the TV networks so they could defend themselves.

One security official said: “We had information, and it could have been activated, which is why it was an imminent threat.

“They certainly could have defaced a website for propaganda reasons and they could have possibly taken it down.”

It is the first known threat by the Kremlin-backed hackers to interfere in the British political process.

Papers revealed they were given medical exemption certificates to use banned drugs.

5 The Fancy Bears leaked confidential medical filed on dozens of Olympic athletes after hacking the anti-doping body Wada

5 Britain’s record-breaking Olympian Sir Bradley Wiggins was revealed to have been given a medical exemption to take a steroid to treat his asthma

In July the hackers were blamed for the leak of 20,000 damaging emails from the US Democratic National Committee – just as it was about to confirm Hillary Clinton as presidential candidate.

The intervention was seen a Moscow’s attempt to boost Donald Trump’s chances in the election.

The group is thought to be behind a shutdown of the national grid in Ukraine and attacks on the governments of Syria, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Fancy Bears also targeted the BBC, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Reuters, CNN, Farnborough arms fair, defence contractor Northrop Grumman, one cyber security report says.

Separately a list published by security experts at the PwC consultancy shows 245 apparent Fancy Bears attacks on targets including Nato, the Chilean military, Apple, Google, the German ministry of defence and the Polish and Hungarian governments.
There is no suggestion any of these has been successful although one firm on the list, Yahoo, last week admitted the personal information of 500million users had been stolen by what it called “state-sponsored” hackers in late 2014.

Yahoo users hit in huge hack that is estimated to have affected 500 million users

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