Russia Denies Role in U.S. Cyber Attacks

The Kremlin on Monday denied any role in recent cyber attacks on the United States, saying American accusations that Russia was behind a major security breach lacked evidence.

U.S. lawmakers over the weekend urged a tough response to a huge cyber attack on government agencies and criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s unwillingness to point the finger at Russia which has been widely blamed for the hack.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said public debate in Washington about the breaches “has nothing to do with us.”

“Russia is not involved in these attacks,” Peskov told reporters Monday.

The attackers managed to breach computer networks using enterprise management network software made by the Texas-based IT company SolarWinds.

U.S. government agencies including the Treasury were among those reportedly affected, but it also hit targets worldwide with the list of victims still emerging, researchers say.

“Any accusations of Russia’s involvement are absolutely unfounded and are a continuation of blind Russophobia,” Peskov said.

The Kremlin has previously denied U.S. claims that Russian intelligence was behind cyber attacks targeting Ukraine’s power grid, the 2017 French election and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games among other hacks.

Russia Demands Explanation From Facebook Over Blocked Accounts

Russia on Thursday demanded an explanation from Facebook after the social media giant said it had derailed a campaign to mislead Russians protesting the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

The U.S.-based social network said its automated systems detected and disabled 530 Instagram accounts being used in the campaign against protesters who took to the streets in Russia following Navalny’s arrest in mid-January.

“Roskomnadzor has sent Facebook management a letter containing a request to provide lists of accounts to which access has been limited and also to explain the reasons for blocking them,” the Russian communications watchdog said.

Roskomnadzor demanded that Facebook, which owns the image-centric service, also provide proof that the blocked accounts had been involved in “illegal activities.”

The network of Instagram accounts used hashtag and location “poisoning” typically associated with spam or financial scams to drown out posts by protesters, according to Facebook global threat disruption lead David Agranovich.

Some of the Instagram posts suggested people got Covid-19 and died as a result of attending protests, according to samples provided by Facebook.

Facebook reported that 55,000 people followed one or more of the Instagram accounts.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets in January and February to protest Navalny’s arrest and President Vladimir Putin’s two-decade rule.

Navalny was sentenced last month to two and a half years in a penal colony for breaching parole terms while in Germany recovering from a poisoning attack Novichok nerve agent.

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