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UK And US Accuse Russia Of Cyber Attacks On Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

T
he UK Government has accused the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) of attempting to sabotage the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by carrying out cyber attacks on officials and organisations linked to the Games.

The claims suggest the GRU have conducted cyber reconnaissance against organisers, logistics services, and sponsors with the intention of compromising computer systems, as part of the latest efforts from the GRU after the organisation reportedly targeted the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have confirmed the cyber-attacks.

“The GRU’s actions against the Olympic and Paralympic Games are cynical and reckless,” Raab said.

“We condemn them in the strongest possible terms.

“The UK will continue to work with our allies to call out and counter future malicious cyber-attacks,” he said.

Along with the findings surrounding the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the NCSC has also confirmed new information that the GRU attempted to disguise itself as North Korean and Chinese hackers when it attempted to sabotage the 2018 Winter Olympic Games with data-deletion malware.

Russian Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, denied the cyber-attack allegations, claiming the accusations are all part of “Russophobia”.

“Russia has never carried out any hacking activities against the Olympics,” Peskov said.

The UK and US governments both claim the cyber-attacks came after Russia was angered by receiving a four-year ban from all major global sporting events, including the Olympics, by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for manipulating athletes’ doping data.

Russia has since fought to dispute the ban, with a lengthy legal battle, claiming the sanctions were the result of political disputes.

Russian sports minister, Oleg Matytsin, said in a speech at the Bureau of the Seventh Conference of Parties (COP7) to the UNESCO International Convention Against Doping In Sport in Moscow that the fight against anti-doping must remain free from political interference, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On a global scale, the Coronavirus has killed more than one million people and infected more than 40 million,” Matytsin said.

“The virus knows no borders and is a global challenge.

“Under these new challenges it is crucial to unite efforts of states in the fight against doping in sport.

“And these questions should be solved professionally, in a constructive way, without any attempts of politicising and interference from the outside,” he said.

The UK Government also said the GRU team behind the attacks on the Olympic Games, both in 2018, and now, are the same team that targeted Ukraine’s electricity grid in 2015 and was responsible for the NotPetya cyber-attack in 2017.

The NCSC also claimed the GRU unit was responsible for cyber-attacks on the UK Foreign Office’s computers and the Defence and Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in 2018.