Russia accused of attempting cybercrime against chemical weapons watchdog

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The defense minister of the Netherlands on Thursday accused Russian’s military intelligence agency, GRU, of targeting an international chemical weapons watchdog and the investigation into a 2014 airplane crash in Ukraine with cyberattacks.

The Associated Press reported that Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld claimed that GRU hacked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in April. The Netherlands responded by expelling four Russian intelligence officers, Bijleveld said.

The hack into the chemical weapons watchdog came around the same time that investigators were attempting to look into an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma, which targeted civilians. Russia, which has aligned itself with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, called the chemical attack a “fabrication” without providing evidence.

{mosads}Bijleveld added that the country has taken “appropriate measures” in response to findings that GRU hacked into the investigation into the crash of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine in 2014. Russia was later found to be responsible for shooting down the airliner, which killed nearly 300 people.

The AP reported that Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the accusations as “big fantasies.”

The Dutch claims came less than 24 hours after the United Kingdom blamed GRU for a series of “reckless” cyberattacks in recent years.

The British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said with “high confidence” that it believes GRU was “almost certainly responsible” for the 2017 BadRabbit ransomware attack in Europe, the 2016 Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack and a summer 2015 hack of emails from a U.K.-based TV station, among others.

Read more from The Hill:

Seven Russian intelligence officers indicted on conspiracy charges


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