Russian Nationals Charged With Attempted Hacking to Influence UK Elections
Two Russian nationals, Ruslan Aleksandrovich Peretyatko and Andrey Stanislavovich Korinets, have been charged by U.S. officials with attempting to hack the computers of employees of multiple U.S. government agencies and allied countries around the world. The goal was to steal and release documents to interfere with elections in Britain in 2019.
Peretyatko, an officer in the Russian intelligence service, was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco along with Korinets. The charges allege that the men conducted an active hacking campaign through their “Callisto Group” from at least October 2016 to October 2022. Their actions targeted various U.S. agencies, including intelligence agencies, the State Department, and the Department of Energy. The group also aimed to influence UK elections in 2019 during the Brexit process and conducted a spear-phishing campaign that targeted multiple parliamentary candidates.
The latest indictments are part of ongoing efforts by the Justice Department to disrupt Russian attempts to hack computers in the West and influence democratic elections. It follows the 2018 indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officials for hacking computers to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
British officials have condemned the Russian cyber activities, which they described as an aggressive campaign to disrupt British politics dating back to 2015. The Russian embassy, however, dismissed the allegations as “invented claims.”
The alleged hacking also involved stealing and releasing British-U.S. trade documents before the 2019 UK election, which fueled political controversy. Given the ongoing issues related to U.S.-U.K. trade, the incident has significant implications for both countries.
As the accused individuals are at large and believed to be in Russia, diplomatic tensions continue to rise between the United States, Britain, and Russia.