Britain blames Russian Federation directly for NotPetya 'ransomware' cyber attack on Ukraine

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The UK government has taken the unusual step of publicly accusing Russian Federation of June's NotPetya ransomware attack, the BBC reports.

The computer virus, which experts concluded masqueraded as ransomware but was in fact created to destroy data, spread rapidly to machines throughout the world last June.

According to estimates, companies lost more than $1.2bn due to this attack.

"Therefore, it is more accurate to describe this attack as destructive than as ransomware", the NCSC said in its statement.

Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad has formally pointed the finger of blame at Russia for the NotPetya outbreak, which was initially propagated via the compromised update servers of a Ukrainian accounting software firm - a factor that meant that Russian state sources were always a number-one suspect. "It was part of the Kremlin's ongoing effort to destabilise Ukraine", it said.

The Russian government has also been accused of trying to impact the outcome of the 2017 US elections through using social media to reach millions of voters. The malware prevented operating systems from loading, blocked computers and demanded a ransom of the Bitcoin equivalent of $300.

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Britain blames Russian Federation directly for NotPetya 'ransomware' cyber attack on Ukraine

British officials said the attack was aimed at Ukrainian financial, energy, and government sectors.

"The attack was evidence of disregard for the sovereignty of Ukraine. Its reckless release disrupted organisations across Europe costing hundreds of millions of pounds" - a figure already circulated by the media after victims released financial statements mentioning the losses incurred by the attack.

Russian state oil company Rosneft and US pharmaceutical giant Merck were among the businesses also hit by the attack.

Allegations of malicious Russian cyberactivity have added to tension between Russia and the West, whose relations have been badly strained by disputes over issues including Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine and Syria. "We are committed to strengthening coordinated worldwide efforts to uphold a free, open, peaceful and secure cyber space".

The White House joined with British leaders, saying the Russian military had "launched the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history".

Russian Federation has denied Williamson's latest charge too - as it also did previous year, when the United Kingdom prime minister directly accused Vladimir Putin of seeking to weaponize information in order to sew social division and influence elections in the West, via the medium of fake news posted to social media platforms.

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