Espionage crisis between Britain and Russia as in the Cold War. But this time cybernetics. Britain's Foreign Office summoned Russia's ambassador to London, Andrey Kelin, in a scenario reminiscent of the worst days of communism, after Russian spies attacked parliamentarians, politicians, journalists and media outlets with "cyber interference."
This was joined by two members of the "Start Blizzard" group, which would be controlled by the FSB's "center 18" unit, the Russian intelligence center (formerly KGB). One of them is an intelligence officer and would be sanctioned. This group is directly dependent on the Russian state and undermines the West in every way it can.
Cyber Interference to All
"Russian spies have been targeting MPs, journalists and others with cyber hacking, as part of a concerted attempt to meddle in British politics," said Leo Docherty, a foreign ministry minister.
The Foreign Ministry minister explained to MPs that the FSB is "behind a sustained effort to interfere in our democratic processes."
The headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow. Photo: EFE
Leo Docherty, David Cameron's minister, told the House of Commons that Russia's federal security service was using "cyber interference" to target politically connected people. Not a dozen, but probably thousands of people are affected.
Hundreds of victims
"I can confirm today that the Russian federal security services, the FSB, are behind a sustained effort to interfere in our democratic processes," he said.
"They have targeted members of this House of Commons and the House of Lords. They have been targeting public officials, journalists, and NGOs. They have been targeting high-profile individuals and entities with a clear intention: to use the information they get to meddle in British politics," he told the House of Commons.
Russian spies have reportedly hacked thousands of people in the kingdom. Photo: AP
The group has "leaked and amplified information since 2015, using a technique known as spear phishing," to steal information from "a significant number of parliamentarians from different political parties.
"Russia is targeting the democratic system," denounced a Foreign Office official.
MPs have previously complained about being targeted by hackers. Labour's Ben Bradshaw said, in 2019, that he believed he had been subjected to interference by Russia.
In 2017, the Russian government was also suspected of being behind a cyberattack on parliament, which breached dozens of email accounts, belonging to parliamentarians and peers.
Interfering in democratic processes
However, this is the strongest confirmation from the government. The British election could be at any time and Britain is Ukraine's biggest ally in the war.
A damning report by parliament's intelligence and security committee found, in 2020, that the British government and intelligence agencies "failed to carry out any proper assessment of the Kremlin's attempts to interfere with the 2016 Brexit referendum."
The report on Russia, long overdue at the time, said ministers actually turned a "blind eye" to accusations of Russian disruption. He said the government had "seen and sought no evidence of successful interference in the UK's democratic processes" at the time. He made it clear that no serious effort was made to do so.