Russia denies attempted cyber-attack on New Zealand

  • 16/02/2018
It says our spy agency's findings are "unsubstantiated and baseless".
It says our spy agency's findings are "unsubstantiated and baseless". Photo credit: Reuters

Russia has denied allegations by New Zealand spy agencies that it launched a global cyber-attack which impacted on New Zealand.

On Friday, the Director-General of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), Andrew Hampton, said the GCSB's international partners blame the NotPetya cyber-attack on the Russian Government.

A spokesperson at Wellington's Russian Embassy has denied these claims.

"Press Secretary of the Russian President Mr Dmitry Peskov has commented that the Russian Federation categorically rejects such accusations and considers them unsubstantiated and baseless," they told Newshub on Friday.

"This is nothing more than the continuation of the Russophobic campaign, lacking any evidence."

NotPetya caused wide spread damage and disruption to computer systems around the world in June 2017. Several Russian companies were also apparently hit, including metal maker Evraz and oil giant Rosneft.

However, Washington alleges the attack was "part of the Kremlin's ongoing effort to destabilize Ukraine," adding it "demonstrates ever more clearly Russia's involvement in the ongoing conflict".

The White House warned that the attackers "will be met with international consequences".

Mr Hampton has added New Zealand's voice to the international condemnation, saying the GCSB supports our partners in "calling out this sort of reckless and malicious cyber activity".

"While NotPetya masqueraded as a criminal ransomware campaign, its real purpose was to damage and disrupt systems," Mr Hampton said.

"Its primary targets were Ukrainian financial, energy and government sectors. However, NotPetya's indiscriminate design caused it to spread around the world, affecting these sectors world-wide.

"While there were no reports of NotPetya having a direct impact in New Zealand, it caused disruption to some organisations while they updated systems to protect themselves from it."

In the 12 months from June 2016 to June 2017, nearly a third (122) of the 396 serious incidents recorded by the GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre involved indicators that have previously been linked to state-sponsored actors.