THE UK GOVERNMENT has publicly accused Russia of behind the "devastating" NotPetya cyberattack that struck businesses in Ukraine and Europe last year.
In an official statement released on Thursday, Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad said that the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has concluded that the Russian military was "almost certainly responsible for the destructive NotPetya cyber-attack of June 2017."
The attack, which first struck Ukraine before heading to Europe, caused businesses to suffer "millions of pounds" worth of damage. Shipping firm Maesrk, which lost $300m as a result of the attack, admitted last week that it was forced to reinstall more than 45,000 PCs, 4,000 servers and 2,500 applications after being struck by the "malicious" ransomware.
Lord Ahmed said that the UK gov has decided to publicly attribute the incident to demonstrate "that the UK and its allies will not tolerate malicious cyber activity".
"The attack showed a continued disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty. Its reckless release disrupted organisations across Europe costing hundreds of millions of pounds," Lord Ahmad said.
"The Kremlin has positioned Russia in direct opposition to the West yet it doesn't have to be that way. We call upon Russia to be the responsible member of the international community it claims to be rather than secretly trying to undermine it.
"The United Kingdom is identifying, pursuing and responding to malicious cyber activity regardless of where it originates, imposing costs on those who would seek to do us harm. We are committed to strengthening coordinated international efforts to uphold a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace."
This isn't the first time that the UK gov has pointed the finger of blame in Russia. In November last year, prime minister Theresa May called out the country for allegedly hacking into systems during elections and spreading fake news.
"Russia is seeking to weaponise information. Deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions," she sad.
However, the Kremlin has repeatedly panned these claims - denying its involvement. µ
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