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UK blames Russia for cyber assault, says won’t tolerate disruption

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Britain blamed Russia on Thursday for a cyber-attack final 12 months, publicly pointing the finger at Moscow for spreading a virus which disrupted firms throughout Europe together with UK-based Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L).

Russia denied the accusation, saying it was a part of “Russophobic” marketing campaign it mentioned was being waged by some Western nations.

The so-called NotPetya assault in June began in Ukraine the place it crippled authorities and enterprise computer systems earlier than spreading all over the world, halting operations at ports, factories and places of work.

Britain’s overseas ministry mentioned the assault originated from the Russian navy.

“The decision to publicly attribute this incident underlines the fact that the UK and its allies will not tolerate malicious cyber activity,” the ministry mentioned in an announcement.

“The attack masqueraded as a criminal enterprise but its purpose was principally to disrupt,” it mentioned.

“Primary targets were Ukrainian financial, energy and government sectors. Its indiscriminate design caused it to spread further, affecting other European and Russian business.”

Moscow has beforehand denied being behind the NotPetya assault, and on Thursday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned Russia “categorically denies the allegations”.

“We consider (them)… groundless. This is nothing more than a continuation of a Russophobic campaign that is without proof,” Peskov informed a convention name with reporters.

Reckitt, a shopper items maker, in addition to Danish delivery firm AP Moller-Maersk S/A (MAERSKb.CO), have been amongst these affected, with the overall price of the assault working into tons of of thousands and thousands of kilos.

British protection minister Gavin Williamson mentioned the assault was a part of a brand new period of warfare and Britain needed to be prepared to reply. “We must be primed and ready to tackle these stark and intensifying threats,” he mentioned in an announcement.

Britain has lately develop into extra vocal in regards to the risk posed by Russia at a time when some members of the ruling Conservative Party have expressed concern in regards to the affect of cuts to protection spending.

In November Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of meddling in elections and planting pretend tales within the media.

Reporting by Sarah Young in LONDON and Denis Pinchuk and Katya Golubkova in MOSCOW; Editing by William Maclean and Gareth Jones

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