MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. London’s claims that Russia allegedly carried out a cyberattack against Ukraine in June 2017 are unfounded and signal a new chapter in its information war, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
"A new chapter in the information war against Russia has begun. The Russian trace has now been allegedly found in a cyberattack against Ukraine carried out in June 2017," the ministry noted.
"The UK Foreign Office and Defense Ministry have now joined the chorus of accusations initially replicated by the Western media. This time, however, it is the Russian government rather than the anonymous and legendary Russian hackers that is blamed for that," the statement reads.
Following the West’s customary routine, London is not providing any concrete facts, limiting themselves to just groundless statements and hints that have become boring to the effect that ‘it is clear for everyone.’"
More than a half a year has elapsed since the time of the alleged cyberattack mentioned by the UK Foreign Office while ‘the concern over this incident’ has manifested itself only now," Russia’s Foreign Ministry noted.
"An impression is being created that stoking this situation is linked to the need to justify laws being adopted by Western governments aimed at tightening control over their citizens or limiting their fundamental rights and freedoms. This would be highly unrealistic without playing the fictional ‘Russian threat’ card. Apparently, the time for that was not yet ripe back in June 2017," the Foreign Ministry stated.
These allegations were brought by the country, with which Russia proposed holding bilateral inter-departmental consultations on global cyber-security, it said.
"Constructive interaction at the level of competent agencies of our countries could help promptly and jointly combat the threats emerging in cyberspace. But we did not get an answer," Russia’s Foreign Ministry stressed.
Dialogue on cyber-security
For more than twenty years now, Russia has put forward a number of concrete proposals at the UN and on the international scene "which would strengthen global information security and help the world eliminate real not fictional harmful activity in cyber space," Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.
"The concrete examples of such harmful acts are well-known and Russia is not associated with them by a long shot. Thus, a targeted attack by the well-known computer viruses Stuxnet and Flame was carried out in 2010 against Iran’s strategic facilities and it claimed billions of US dollars in losses and affected the technological development of that country," the ministry noted.
"However, the attackers’ traces point precisely to those countries which continue to groundlessly accuse Russia of what they are apparently guilty of themselves," the statement reads.
In this regard, Russia’s Foreign Ministry recollected the well-known Russian proverb: "A guilty conscience gives itself away."
"From this same series, the story of the notorious extortionist virus WannaCry headlined in the West, in addition to actions in the works and similar charges being planned against Russia about its interference in the run-up to and during the Winter Olympic Games in the Republic of Korea, about which the Foreign Ministry informed the public earlier," the Ministry stated.
"Despite the incessant Russophobic attacks, we once again remind the global community about (our) readiness to cooperate in the sphere of international information security in a pragmatic way and are urging the parties concerned to undertake constructive efforts," the Foreign Ministry stressed.
Moscow is confident that dialogue is the guarantee to peace in the global information space as well as its security, while unfounded accusations are becoming a weapon of those who are really pursuing goals that are far from peaceful."
Last week, the UK blamed Russia for a massive cyberattack using the NotPetya virus in Ukraine in June 2017.
"The UK government judges that the Russian government, specifically the Russian military, was responsible for the destructive NotPetya cyberattack of June 2017. The attack showed a continued disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty," the Press Association quoted UK Foreign Office Minister Tariq Ahmad as saying.
On June 27, 2017, ransomware blocking access to data and demanding money for unblocking it, attacked dozens of energy, telecom and financial companies in Russia and Ukraine, spreading throughout the globe afterwards. Experts from the Group-IB computer security company said the Petya encrypting ransomware was behind this massive cyberattack. The malware prevented operating systems from loading, blocked computers and demanded a ransom of a Bitcoin equivalent of $300. Kaspersky Lab later came to the conclusion that the world had faced a new ransomware, dubbing it NotPetya.
The Kremlin had earlier rejected similar allegations of Moscow’s involvement. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov strongly rejected the claims as "groundless," adding that they were part of the "similarly groundless campaign based on hatred against Russia."