MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is facing increased cyber attacks from abroad, a senior security official was quoted on Sunday as saying, responding to Western accusations that Moscow is aggressively targeting information networks in the United States and Europe.
U.S. intelligence agencies say Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a cyber campaign aimed at boosting Donald Trump’s electoral chances by discrediting his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Russia has dismissed the accusations as a “witch-hunt”.
“Recently we have noted a significant increase in attempts to inflict harm on Russia’s informational systems from external forces,” Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily, according to excerpts of an interview to be published in full on Monday.
“The global (Internet) operators and providers are widely used, while the methods they use constantly evolve,” said Patrushev, a former head of the FSB secret service and a close ally of Putin.
Patrushev accused the outgoing U.S. administration of President Barack Obama of “deliberately ignoring the fact that the main Internet servers are based on the territory of the United States and are used by Washington for intelligence and other purposes aimed at retaining its global domination”.
But he added that Moscow hoped to establish “constructive contacts” with the Trump administration. Trump, who praised Putin during the election campaign and has called for better ties with Moscow, will be inaugurated as president on Jan. 20.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Gareth Jones)