Six Russians Were Behind the Cyberattacks on French Entities, the Justice Department said on Monday

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Russian military hackers behind attacks on French entities

Russia military hackers were behind the recent cyberattacks on French entities, the Justice Department announced Monday. The department described the campaign as the most damaging in history. It also said six Russians were behind the attacks.

According to the indictment, the Russian military intelligence service known as GRU was involved in the cyberattacks. A total of six defendants are being charged with conspiracy, computer fraud, aggravated identity theft, and wire fraud. They are all accused of hacking to target geopolitical interests.

As part of their operations, the Russians used destructive malware. Their attacks targeted a wide range of targets on three continents, including the Ukrainian electric power grid, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and the presidential election in France. In the latter case, the group is believed to have launched a malware called “Olympic Destroyer”. This attack crashed the official website of the PyeongChang Winter Games, and prevented attendees from gaining tickets.

Another Russian group, the People’s Cyber Army, is accused of engaging in a psyops attack. This operation included a flood of garbage web traffic that sought to scare the public into believing a nuclear disaster was imminent.

The same group also registered domain names for stealing details from Montenegrin MPs. Meanwhile, another group, known as the Sandworm, hacked the internal networks of several French entities running Centreon IT monitoring software.

Those attacks affected 1.4 million people. Some of the information stolen by the criminals included personal data and correspondence. Some of the documents were classified. Several of the files were marked “NATO CONFIDENTIAL”.

According to the indictment, the hackers engaged in a spear-phishing campaign against the Macron campaign. The campaign flooded phishing addresses with multiple logins and fake documents.

Russian military hackers have influenced politics across the world, and have cost companies billions of dollars. The Justice Department has also been able to charge foreign hackers in absentia in the past few years.

Last year, the Russian government congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his win in the runoff election against Marine Le Pen. But despite a positive result, the Kremlin warned that “mutual mistrust” was still a threat.

Russian military hackers are behind the attacks on French entities

Russian military hackers have been behind a series of attacks on French entities and other nations. This revelation has raised concerns in Europe and the United States. In a press call on Monday, a Justice Department official said the campaign was “the most destructive to date” attributed to a single group.

The indictment focuses on a group of six computer hackers, all of whom were members of the GRU. They are accused of seven counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, computer fraud, and computer abuse.

Aside from the hacks on French institutions, there were also attacks on Ukraine. These reportedly caused billions of dollars in damage. One attack targeted the electric power grid in Ukraine.

Another hacking group was responsible for defacing roughly 15,000 websites in Georgia. Some of the victims were state and private enterprises. Other attacks targeted countries on three continents.

The French elections were also affected. According to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, an “information warfare” campaign was allegedly carried out by the hackers. Its intent was to disrupt the election. But the authorities responded rapidly and the attack lessened the impact.

Hackers also attacked the Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and transportation companies. As a result, administrative systems were down for a month.

In April 2016, the same organisation registered a fake Google address for the Democratic party. It is thought that the same group was behind the Macron hack, but the extent of the damage is unclear.

An investigation by the NSA has not produced results. However, the Russian embassy in Washington, DC did not reply to a request for comment.

What’s Next?

Despite these allegations, the Kremlin congratulated President Emmanuel Macron on his victory in a runoff vote. He was also urged by the Kremlin to overcome mutual mistrust.

While Russian military hackers have been known to engage in cyberattacks, it is important to remember that information warfare is not as effective as it could be. Rapid exposure and a willingness to face reality are two ways to beat this type of strategy.

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