'Sandworm' hacking group linked to Russian GRU's Main Center for Special Technology, says U.S.

Hackers. [Shutterstock]

U.S. State Department blames Russia for cyberattacks that hit neighboring Georgia in October 2019

By identifying Russia's digital assaults on neighbors, US hopes to raise awareness of ongoing GRU attacks on US

Andy Greenberg at WIRED reports today on a State Department announcement identifying Russia as having been responsible for online military attacks against its neighboring nation, Georgia, last October.

From the WIRED story:

For more than a decade, Russian hackers have tormented the country's neighbors, bombarding Estonian websites with junk traffic and even triggering blackouts in Ukraine. As long as Russia has kept those relentless, disruptive cyberattacks within its own region, the West has mostly turned a blind eye. But as the US seeks to head off any digital meddling in its own upcoming election, the State Department is trying something different: Calling out Russia for a broad-scale act of digital sabotage that hit the country of Georgia last fall.

State Department officials today issued a statement blaming the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU for cyberattacks that hit Georgia in October. The onslaught took down or defaced thousands of websites, and even disrupted the broadcasts of two television stations. Specifically, administration officials tell WIRED that US and allied intelligence agencies have attributed the assault to the GRU's Main Center for Special Technology, or GTsST, which the State Department also explicitly linked for the first time in its statement to the notorious Russian hacker group known as Sandworm. The US had previously tied that same group to the destructive NotPetya worm that spread from Ukraine in 2017, causing $10 billion in damage, and the Olympic Destroyer malware that sabotaged the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The statement will echo findings released by Georgia's own security services today, and US officials say they expect confirmations from multiple other governments to follow.

Read more:
The US Blames Russia's GRU for Sweeping Cyberattacks in Georgia

Previously at Boing Boing:

My review of Sandworm: an essential guide to the new, reckless world of "cyberwarfare"

An interview with Andy Greenberg about his book Sandworm, on the Russian state hackers who attack power grids