Russia is once again accused of hacking computers used by foreign governments, this time with Lithuania saying that it discovered spyware that was planted of its systems by the Kremlin.
In a statement to Reuters, Rimtautas Cerniauskas, head of the Lithuanian Cyber Security Centre, explained that Russian hackers first tried to infect government computers with spyware in 2015, but other 20 attempts were recorded only this year.
What’s worse is that the spyware was detected only 6 months after being planted, and Cerniauskas says that it was used to transfer documents and passwords to Russian spy agencies.
It’s not yet known if any confidential documents or state secrets were stolen, but the Lithuanian official says some of the infected computers were used by government officials with mid-to-low ranking positions working on drafts for government decisions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov played down the accusations, describing them as “laughable.”
“Did it (the spyware) have ‘Made in Russia’ written on it? We absolutely refute this nonsense,” he was quoted as saying by the same source, adding that Russia itself was targeted, but you don’t see the country blaming foreign governments.
Russia, however, accused foreign intelligence agencies of planning a major attack against the country earlier this month, but local officials said all attempts were successfully thwarted.
Cerniauskas warns that Russia is becoming a bigger threat in the cyber security field, explaining that all countries must be prepared for waves of attacks that would be launched by groups linked to the Kremlin government.
“Russians are really quite good in this area. They have been using information warfare since the old times. Cyberspace is part of that, only more frowned upon by law than simple propaganda,” he said. “They have the capacity, they have the attitude, they are interested, and they will get to it – so we need to prepare for it and we need to apply countermeasures.”