Russian spies have been targeting British MPs, peers, civil servants, journalists and others with cyber-hacking since 2015 as part of a concerted attempt to meddle in British politics, a Foreign Office minister has said.
Leo Docherty, a minister under David Cameron, told the House of Commons that the Russian federal security service was using “cyber interference” to target politically connected people.
He said one Russian group was behind the 2018 hack on the Institute for Statecraft, and that two individuals have been “designated” under the cyber sanctions regime as a result. The Russian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office on Thursday morning to be informed of these sanctions.
Docherty said: “I can confirm today that the Russian federal security services, the FSB, is behind a sustained effort to interfere in our democratic processes. They have targeted members of this house and the [House of Lords]. They have been targeting civil servants, journalists and NGOs. They have been targeting high-profile individuals and entities with a clear intent – using information they obtain to meddle in British politics.”
Doherty said a group called Centre 18, a unit within the FSB, has been involved in cyber-espionage and a subordinate group called Star Blizzard was involved in the hacking activity targeting “British parliamentarians from multiple parties”.
He said the group had “selectively leaked and amplified the release of sensitive information in service of Russia’s goals of confrontation”. [Continue reading…]