Hackers from Moscow have been caught targeting the Netherlands-based Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The news: Dutch security services have kicked out four Russians planning to hack the OPCW. When they were caught, the agency was investigating a suspected Russian nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, a former Soviet spy who had defected to the UK, and his daughter. It was also looking into a suspected chemical attack in Syria, which Russia claims didn’t happen.
Caught red-handed: Often, it’s hard to pin the blame on nation-state hackers because they launch cyberattacks from distant locations and cover their tracks online. But not in this case: the Russians were nabbed in a hotel parking lot next to the OPCW office in a car packed with gear designed to tap into the agency’s Wi-Fi network. The Dutch also found mobile phones on the men that had been activated near the Moscow headquarters of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.
There’s more … A laptop was found in the car that had been used in Malaysia to target an investigation of the fatal crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17, which was brought down over rebel-held territory in Ukraine in 2014. Russia is suspected of supplying weaponry used to target the plane.
… and more …The same laptop was also used in Switzerland. The Dutch say it’s linked to the hack of a laptop belonging to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, which had uncovered evidence that Russian athletes were using illegal drugs to boost their performance.
… and more: The British government has accused the GRU of being behind multiple high-profile cyberattacks, some of which targeted the US Democratic Party, a British TV station, and WADA.
Cyber arms control: These attacks come at a time when the United States, Britain, and other countries are gearing up to launch offensive cyber operations of their own in order to counter hacking by hostile nation-states. As we argued recently, a new diplomatic push is urgently needed to tackle rising tensions in cyberspace that could have devastating consequences.
Everything dies, including information
Digitization can help stem the tide of entropy, but it won’t stop it.
What’s next in cybersecurity
“When it comes to really cutting off ransomware from the source, I think we took a step back.”
Moving money in a digital world
Security is the critical element to expanding digital-first payments.
Cyber resilience melds data security and protection
Organizations face pervasive and sophisticated cyberattacks, but modern data protection techniques can provide a multifaceted defense.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.