Russian ‘Hackers Targeted BT And British Media Organisations’
Russian hackers have targeted the British energy network, telecoms and the media in the past year, a security chief will say after Theresa May warned about foreign interference in the UK.
Moscow is “seeking to undermine the international system” and its activities are a “cause for concern”, Ciaran Martin – the head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – will tell tech bosses.
The stark warning comes after the Prime Minister accused Vladimir Putin’s state of “meddling” in elections and spreading fake news in an attempt to “sow discord in the West”.
Speaking at the Times Tech Summit in London, Mr Martin will say: “I can’t get into precise details of intelligence matter, but I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Centre over the past year, has included attacks on the UK media, telecommunications and energy sectors.”
That included attempts to penetrate the systems of telecoms providers like BT and assaulting news organisations’ websites with denial of service attacks, according to The Sun.
He will add: “Russia is seeking to undermine the international system. That much is clear. The PM made the point on Monday night – international order as we know it is in danger of being eroded.”
The NCSC is “actively engaging” international partners, industry and civil society to tackle the threat, he will say.
Since its launch last year, the NCSC has blocked tens of millions of cyber attacks and responded to 590 incidents – including the WannaCry attack which hit the NHS.
That attack has been blamed on hackers linked to North Korea, but it is Russia which Whitehall is most concerned about.
On Monday night, the Prime Minister told Russian President Mr Putin “we know what you are doing” and insisted he would not succeed.
Attacking Moscow at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the City of London’s Guildhall, Ms May accused the Kremlin of being behind “a sustained campaign of cyber espionage and disruption”.
Russia’s foreign ministry hit back on Twitter, saying: “We know what YOU are doing as well.”
Its spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, called the PM’s words “irresponsible and unfounded” and said she was trying to distract from the difficulties over Brexit.