Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Denies Links to Solarwinds Hack

The chief of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has denied that they were involved in the infamous SolarWinds cyber attack that compromised nine federal U.S. agencies and hundreds of businesses in the private sector.

“These claims are like a bad detective novel,” said Director Sergei Naryshkin in an interview with BBC News. Naryshkin also noted that he would be “flattered” if the SVR had carried out this attack, but that he would not “claim the creative achievements of others as his own.”

Naryshkin said in the interview that he wanted to avoid accusing the U.S. of the attack but quoted documents leaked by former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden, suggesting that the SolarWinds attack looks very similar to those employed by U.S. and British intelligence agencies.

Both the U.S. and Great Britain have accused the SVR of hacking operations around the globe, as well as cases of poisoning political enemies and meddling in the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election. 

The U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters released a statement earlier Tuesday morning that they found Naryshkin’s statement “unconvincing” and still think they are responsible for the SolarWinds hack.

The SolarWinds hack, identified by IT professionals in December 2020, breached thousands of government offices and private companies that used the service. Microsoft President Brad Smith called the attack “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen.”

Naryshkin did add during the interview that correspondence between the SVR and British Secret Service MI-6 has been re-established, but appeared to provide a non-answer when asked about the view that only 10% of Russian intelligence operations in Europe were uncovered.

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