U.S. Indicts Russian GRU Officers for Cybercrimes Against Georgia

U.S. Justice Department stated on Monday that a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, on October 15, indicted six Russian GRU Military Unit 74455 officers, who were involved in various cyberattacks worldwide, including against a Georgian media company, and a wide-scale cyberattack on Georgian government and private websites, as well as attacks on the 2017 French elections, the Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure, the 2018 winter Olympics and UK bodies involved in investigating Sergei Skripal’s Novichok poisoning and others.

According to the Justice Department, one of the Russian hackers also conducted technical reconnaissance of the Georgian Parliament domain and attempted to gain unauthorized access to its network in 2019. The GRU group had also targeted businesses and critical infrastructure in the U.S., causing some USD 1 billion in losses.

“No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers stated, adding that the U.S. Justice Department charged the Russian GRU officers with “conducting the most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group.”

The U.S. State Department also released Secretary Mike Pompeo’s statement denouncing Russia’s “irresponsible behavior,” assessing the cyber activities as a “complete disregard for public safety and international stability,” and calling upon all states that desire stability in cyberspace to join the U.S. in helping bring the indicted GRU actors to justice.

Georgian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on October 20, welcoming the efforts of “our U.S. partners to bring to justice those responsible for the reckless cyber attacks.” The Foreign Ministry stated that Georgia is grateful for the contributions by the U.S. and other allies to strengthen Georgia’s cyber defense capabilities and resilience.

“International community’s united stance is vital in condemning and confronting the threats posed by Russia to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia,” the statement reads.

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