Russia claims it is being targeted for cyber strikes by foreign services, following US election

The report comes on the heels of the US election campaign, from which allegations have emerged of Russian hacking against the US.

December 20, 2016 00:37
2 minute read.

Russian servicemen representing the Kremlin Regiment march during a military parade rehearsal in Moscow's Red Square.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A special commission of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has concluded that foreign intelligence services are preparing large-scale cyber attacks “in order to destabilize the Russian financial system,” according a report issued by the Institute for National Securities Studies (INSS).

“Cyber attacks were planned to accompany the mass sending of provocative SMS-messages and publications on social networks (blogs) in relation to the crisis of credit and the financial system in Russia, businesses’ failure, and revocation of licenses of a number of leading banks at the federal and regional level. The campaign was aimed at several dozen Russian cities,” the report said, attributing the statement to MIA Russia Today.

The report comes on the heels of the US election campaign, from which allegations have emerged of Russian hacking against the US.

INSS cyber director and report editor Gabi Siboni said Monday that there is no way to confirm the Russian claim. While the FSB mentioned foreign intelligence services, it did not name the US or make a specific connection to US promises of a counterattack for what US intelligence has said was Russia’s cyber interference in the election.

However, Siboni did say that the report and several other recent reports in Russia media, referring to possible US attempts to use cyber hacking to “turn off” Russia’s S-300 and S-400 antiaircraft systems, should be seen in the greater context of Russia’s cyber interference in the US election.

MIA Russia Today also reported that five Russian banks had been hit in November by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks when their systems were flooded with superfluous data to overload the system.

In October, US Vice President Joseph Biden said the US would counterattack Russia with its offensive cyber capabilities, and US President Barack Obama echoed the threat, vowing on Saturday to send Russia “a clear message.”

It is unclear whether the latest reports emerging from Russia signal that US cyber efforts regarding Russia are already afoot.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Donald Trump’s White House chief-ofstaff- in-waiting, Reince Priebus, told Fox News that his boss would accept the idea that the election interference came from Russia if the entire intelligence community, including the FBI, put out a report that was unanimous on that issue.

Until Sunday, Trump had numerous times voiced skepticism as to whether hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hilary Clinton campaign officials was carried out by Russia. Part of the controversy has surrounded an additional conclusion by the CIA and Obama that Russia was specifically trying to help Trump’s chances in the election.

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