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UK industry targeted by Russian hackers, says cybersecurity chief


The UK’s energy, telecoms and media sectors have been targeted by Russian hackers.

According to Ciaran Martin, head of the National Cyber Security Centre, Moscow is looking to “undermine the international system” and its activities are a “cause for concern”.

Speaking at the Times Tech Summit in London, Martin said he was unable to divulge specifics.

“I can’t get into precise details of intelligence matter, but I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Centre over the past year, has included attacks on the UK media, telecommunications and energy sectors.”

“Russia is seeking to undermine the international system. That much is clear. The PM made the point on Monday night – international order as we know it is in danger of being eroded.”

Since launching last year, the NCSC has reportedly stopped tens of millions of cyber attacks and responded to almost 600 incidents, including the WannaCry attack, which caused chaos across the NHS earlier this year, and is now being blamed on North Korea.

The news comes after Theresa May accused the Kremlin of being behind a “sustained campaign of cyber espionage and disruption” on Monday.

She said: “I have a very simple message for Russia … we know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of western nations to the alliances that bind us.”

An investigation by the Guardian found that some 400 accounts from a list of 2,700 earmarked by Twitter as being operated by a Russian “troll agency”, had tweeted about Brexit in the run-up to and following the referendum in June last year.

It’s now known that one particular account secured significant coverage in the mainstream press following the Westminster attack in March. The @SouthLoneStar account shared a controversial image of a young Muslim woman using her phone and walking along the bridge seemingly ignoring injured civilians.