Will Russian retaliation over sanctions lead to cyber attacks?

15 March 2018

Concern in the wake of nerve agent attack


Following the UK sanctions against Russia, there is some speculation that cyber attacks could now follow.

 After Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy and his daughter in Salisbury, the UK Government took the decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats from Britain.

In addition to the expulsions, the UK has announced measures that include increased checks on private flights, customs and freight, as well as a boycott of this year's Fifa World Cup in Russia by ministers and the Royal Family.

Russia denies it was involved and described the UK's position as irresponsible and not backed up by evidence. Moscow has vowed there will be a swift response to the expulsions.

Speaking to The Express, Professor Anthony Glees, director of Buckingham University’s Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies said the Government must prepare us for retaliation by Russia.

“In my view we will be hit by a cyber attack in the UK just as we’ve seen in France, Germany, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Estonia,” he said.

Last month General Sir Nick Carter, head of the Army, warned that Britain was dangerously exposed to Russian cyber attacks, adding: “The time to address these threats is now.”

However, Robert Hannigan, former the Government Communications Headquarters director stressed that it was important for Britain not to escalate tensions. He believes that Russia would certainly hit back if the UK were to launch its own cyber attacks.

Speaking to Sky News he said: "We do have very advanced abilities in offensive cyber and of course with our allies, particularly the United States, we have the best in the world I think – but launching a cyber-conflict is not a trivial thing.

"It's a bit like launching a military conflict and I don't think anybody would benefit from that...it would be stepping into a different dimension and really playing the Russians at their own game - they don't care how they behave."

He added: "I think the main reason for not doing it is opening up a new conflict - it is not the answer here."

“We are the people who abide by international rules, by international law, and we want others to do the same.

"We should operate consistently with our values - not theirs."





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