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Latvia blames Russian military for launching cyberattacks against its government organizations

Latvia blames Russian military for launching cyberattacks against its government organizations
  • The Russian Military intelligence agency (GRU) allegedly tried to gain access to Latvian government data via phishing attacks.
  • Authorities said that they did not observe any politically motivated attack targeting the 13th Saeima elections.

The Latvian intelligence agency on Monday blamed Russia for carrying out cyberattacks on Latvia’s foreign, defense and other state institutions. Russia’s military intelligence agency (GRU), launched email phishing attacks against Latvia’s government computer in “recent years”, Latvia’s Constitutions Protection Bureau (SAB) said.

In a statement, SAB said that Latvia too had been targeted several times by Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, like the Netherlands - which recently went public with claiming it had been subjected to cyber-attacks from Russia’s GRU.

Mission espionage

“The cyber attacks in Latvia were carried out by the GRU for espionage purposes, and the most frequent attacks were directed against state institutions, including the foreign and defense sectors,” SAB said.

The attackers allegedly rarely targeted private companies, including the media. SAB said that the cyberattacks were aimed at allowing attackers to enter an information system, perform malicious activities within it, without being noticed and obtain sensitive data from the system.

“Not only the GRU but other Russian intelligence and security services, are campaigning against Western interests in cyberspace. Cyber activity has become a routine part of Russian politics, which accompanies almost all of Russia's foreign and military activities in different regions of the world” SAB added.

No links to Saeima elections

SAB said that it paid close attention to finding possible connections between the attacks with the 13the Saeima election. However, investigators did not find any relation or politically motivated cyberattacks carried out by the Russian military intelligence in this case.

Latvian authorities are yet to reveal any further details about the attacks. It is still unclear as to how long the attacks lasted and whether the attackers were successful in obtaining any sensitive information.

“Not only the GRU, but other Russian intelligence and security services, are campaigning against Western interests in cyberspace,” SAB said. “Cybersecurity has become a routine part of Russian politics, which accompanies almost all of Russia's foreign and military activities in different regions of the world. Russia's agility and readiness to use it in recent years has grown substantially and is one of the fastest growing threats.”

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