HYBRID WAR. An invisible cyber war rages between the West and Russia
Former security adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said London has recently launched a series of covert cyberattacks against the leaders of the Kremlin regime and their interests in response to a cyber attack against the West, Voice of America reports.
According to representatives of Western intelligence services, Britain’s allies, including the United States, are also making similar efforts, which indicates an imminent cyber conflict with the Kremlin in the so-called “gray zone” between normal relations and armed conflict.
“The fact that you don’t see it doesn’t mean we don’t, because we don’t always talk about these things,” Mark Sedwill, who until recently served as the prime minister’s national security adviser, told the Times. British Minister Boris Johnson. At the same time, Sedwill stressed that London is using its offensive cyber capabilities in response to Russian attacks.
“When we consider it right and necessary, we strive to ensure that their actions have consequences, and usually more significant than they expected,” he explained. “We cannot leave the initiative to our opponents.”
Britain has had offensive cyber capabilities for more than 10 years and has used it against IS, including destroying IS IS’s homemade drones in the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2018. But officials rarely talk about their efforts to conduct or counter cyberattacks, or elaborate on what they consider legitimate targets in the absence of full-scale war.
Last month, General Patrick Sanders, who heads Britain’s Strategic Command, told reporters that the country could theoretically “weaken, undermine and even destroy critical capabilities and infrastructure” of opponents. The British military is working with the Government Communications Center (GCHQ), the agency responsible for electronic intelligence.
Sanders said: “The binary distinction between war and peace in his usual sense is no longer relevant.”
Britain used its offensive cyber capabilities in response to the 2018 poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, Sedville said.
“After the Salisbury attack, the first case in a century of using chemical weapons against a European country, we have given a visible response. We have expelled the entire Russian intelligence network from the UK, ”he said. “But we also took a number of other precautions, including tackling some of the illegal cash flows from Russia, as well as covert measures that I certainly cannot talk about.”
Judging by Sedwill’s comments, the Western powers are becoming more decisive in their “gray war” with Russia, as well as with Iran, China and North Korea. “It is important that we can maneuver in this gray area and do it effectively,” he said.
Recently, the United States announced charges against six Russian military intelligence officers for a series of cyber attacks aimed at undermining Western democracies. The indictments are the result of lengthy investigations conducted by FBI analysts in collaboration with Google, Cisco, Facebook and Twitter, as well as with allied Western intelligence services, including Britain.
As noted by the American scientist Thomas Reed, the amount of details in the indictments probably reflects the degree of infiltration of the GRU’s hacking operations.
“I suspect that the intelligence communities of the Five Eyes alliance have an extremely detailed understanding of Russian military intelligence operations, if it is considered acceptable to disclose the information that was released to the public today,” he tweeted after the indictments were released. …
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