Russia tried to hack UK media, telecoms, and energy, confirms UK cyber-defence chief

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Just days after Theresa May warned Russia of election meddling, one of the UK’s cyber-defence chiefs has today accused Russia of having attacked Britain’s media, telecommunications and energy sectors over the past year.

While speaking at a tech event organised by the Times newspaper, Ciaran Martin, chief executive of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said that Russia was “seeking to undermine the international system”.

Read related story: Theresa May accuses Russia of election meddling, ‘planting fake stories’

“I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Centre over the past year, has included attacks on the UK media, telecommunication and energy sectors,” Martin added.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, part of the country’s communications interception agency, has reportedly dealt with more than 600 cyber attacks since it was created last year.

The chief made a reference of May’s speech as well when he said: “The prime minister made the point on Monday night - international order as we know it is in danger of being eroded,” he said, adding: “This is clearly a cause for concern and the NCSC is actively engaging with international partners, industry and civil society to tackle this threat.”

The BBC has sought comment from the Russian Embassy in London.

The NCSC was established about a year ago. Last month, it revealed that it had already classed a total of 590 attacks - from a variety of perpetrators - as being “significant”, and that more than 30 incidents had been judged serious enough to require a cross-government response.

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