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Iran Press TV

Russia accuses West of cyber mania over claims of hacking attack on OPCW

Iran Press TV

Thu Oct 4, 2018 04:17PM

Russia has accused the West of "spy mania," after Dutch security services alleged they had foiled a purported cyber attack by four Russian nationals on the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the "Western spy mania is gaining momentum," shortly after Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld alleged at a presser that her country's intelligence services had thwarted a cyber attack by four members of the Russian military intelligence agency (GRU) back in April13 .

Bijleveld further said that the four Russian suspects had been expelled from the Netherlands following the purported attack, adding that Russia's charge d'affaires to the Netherlands had been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an explanation.

According to Bijleveld, the Russian suspects, who allegedly had diplomatic passports, had purportedly taken photos of the global chemical weapons watchdog's surroundings in The Hague. She added that the suspects' vehicle contained high-tech equipment that was able to hack into the organization's Wi-Fi network.

Britain's Ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Wilson, who was present at Bijleveld's press conference, also alleged that the GRU had also targeted the UK Foreign Office and Porton Down Defense and Science Laboratory.

Wilson echoed a statement by the British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on Wednesday that claimed "high confidence" that the GRU was responsible for several acts in cyberspace, citing the 2017 Bad Rabbit ransomware attack in Europe, the 2016 Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack and a summer 2015 hack of emails from a UK-based TV station.

Earlier, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a similar statement held Moscow responsible for "reckless and indiscriminate" acts in cyberspace across the globe. Hunt also said London was discussing the possibility of imposing further sanctions against Russia.

Zakharova described the allegations as the product of someone with a "rich imagination."

"It's some kind of a diabolical perfume cocktail [of allegations]," she said at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday, adding, "Without any scrutiny, the GRU, cyber spies, Kremlin hackers, WADA have been mixed into a horrendous fragrance concoction, possibly contained in a Nina Ricci bottle."

She added that the "rich fantasy of our British colleagues knows no bounds."

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