The UK government has blamed the NotPeya cyber attack on Russian officials.
The government claims that the Russian military was ‘directly behind’ the malicious cyber attack that spread around the world last June. Russia has repeatedly denied responsibility for the NotPetya attack – which is estimated to have cost companies more than $1.2bn – pointing out that Russian firms were among those affected.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said Russia was ‘ripping up the rule book’ and the UK was duty-bound to respond. Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said the UK’s decision to identify the Kremlin as responsible for the attack underlined the fact that the government will not tolerate ‘malicious cyber activity’. He said: "The UK government judges that the Russian government, specifically the Russian military, was responsible for the destructive NotPetya cyber attack. Its reckless release disrupted organisations across Europe costing hundreds of millions of pounds. The Kremlin has positioned Russia in direct opposition to the West yet it doesn’t have to be that way. We call upon Russia to be the responsible member of the international community it claims to be rather then secretly trying to undermine it."
The ‘NotPetya’ malware attacks could spark an international cyber war, according to a Nato researcher. Part of Nato’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence Tomáš Minárik believes that ‘retaliation’ could be warranted if it is revealed that the malware outbreak was state sponsored. Minárik said that the malware could count as a ‘violation of State sovereignty’ and that would open up the possibility of counterattacks. Minárik’s comments come after Nato concluded that the malware outbreak – which hit Ukraine hardest but also affected 60 other countries – is ‘most likely attributable to a State actor’.
Minárik, said: “As important government systems have been targeted, then in case the operation is attributed to a state this could count as a violation of sovereignty. Consequently, this could be an internationally wrongful act, which might give the targeted states several options to respond with countermeasures.”
While Minárik warned that a cyber-attack could trigger an armed response, he said that the possibility of countermeasures would more likely come in the former of retaliatory cyber attacks.
The assumption that NotPetya is State sponsored arouse due to its disgused nature. Originally presumed to be a ransomware similar to the WannaCry virus, it soon emerged that virus is in fact a malware designed to infiltrate and potentially wipe out government systems.