UK Cybersecurity Chief Blames Russia for Cyberattacks

GCHQ Headquarters Britain

The head of the UK GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has accused Russia of staging attacks across multiple sectors.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the NCSC, was speaking at The Times Tech Summit when he stated Russia is looking to “undermine the international system” by systematically targeting countries with cyberattacks. Established a year ago, the NCSC is a government agency under the GCHQ that provides advice and support for both public and private sectors in the face of cybersecurity threats.

Referencing Russia as a ‘hostile state’, Martin said:

I can’t get into too much of the details of intelligence matters, but I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Centre, has included attacks on the UK media, telecommunications and energy sectors. That is clearly a cause for concern – Russia is seeking to undermine the international system. That much is clear. 

The comments follow Prime Minister Theresa May’s remark that Russia had “mounted a sustained campaign of cyber-espionage and disruption.” Referencing the statement in his own speech, NCSC chief Martin said: “The PM made the point on Monday night – that international order as we know it is in danger of being eroded.”

“I have a very simple message for Russia,” May said. “We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of western nations to the alliances that bind us.”

For its part, the Russian embassy in London rejected such accusations, calling them “non-transparent and biased.”

“We would be interested in finding out the details and seeing the original findings on which the statements are based,” Russia’s London embassy said. “It would be most unfortunate to see [Britain] informed by wrong intelligence.

Image credit: Wikimedia.