Prime Minister Scott Morrison has joined the UK and other nations in condemning Russia over what are described as ‘malicious’ cyber-attacks.
The Prime Minister’s statement was prompted from an assessment by British security agency NCSC that condemned the GRU (Russia’s military intelligence wing) as being a relentless cyber threat that deliberately attempts to undermine political and economic stability around the world via a vast network of hackers.
In his statement, Mr Morrison revealed that Australia, having consulted with allied intelligence agencies, could declare that Russia’s GRU had enacted a “pattern of malicious cyber activity”.
He admitted that although “Australia was not significantly impacted” that Russia’s cyber activity had “caused significant, indiscriminate harm to civilian infrastructure” as well as “millions of dollars in economic damage”.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that the GRU had impacted its own citizens with its activity.
He said that the behaviour from the GRU was “unacceptable” and that Australia was calling on Russia and other countries to “refrain from these types of malicious activities”.
He added that “cyberspace is not the Wild West” and reminded Russia that it had agreed to international law pertaining to appropriate levels of cyber behaviour.
He said that Russia had “shown total disregard” for past agreements it was a part of negotiating.
The GRU is also accused of playing a role in the use of a nerve agent to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skipral in a suspected assassination attempt, a move which saw the US and Europe expel Russian diplomats in response.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former soviet spy himself, said that Mr Skipral, was a “scumbag” and traitor to Russia.
Russia is also accused of using its cyber agencies to influence the 2016 US Presidential election positively for Donald Trump, something that the US President joined his Russian counterpart in denying took place.