The US and UK have officially attributed the SolarWinds cyber attack which affected 18,000 organisations globally to Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki, the SVR).
In a joint advisory, the NSA, FBI and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said SVR actors – known among security researchers as APT29, Cozy Bear and The Dukes – were responsible for what has been described as one of the worst ever cyber-espionage attacks against the US.
Separately, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre assessed that it is “highly likely” that Russia was responsible.
The Biden administration also announced a fresh wave of sanctions against Moscow in retaliation for the SolarWinds hack, election interference and allegedly paying bounties for US soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Up to 30 Russian entities were blacklisted and ten Russian diplomats were expelled from the US.
Tony Cole, CTO at cybersecutity company Attivo Networks said it was too soon to say what the outcome would be of the sanctions and attribution against Russia.
“Although the actions today are badly needed by the US and its allies to hopefully counter Russian aggression, many past efforts, sanctions, and plans, have had little impact,” he said. “Actions by Russian and Chinese state-based actors or their proxies (and other nations) have been taking place for many years and efforts in the past to counter them have stuttered, stalled, or just completely failed.”
He added that a “close-knit global effort” is required to combat state-sponsored cyberattacks.
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