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Moscow Dismisses Russian Reports Group Hijacked Iranian Spying Operation

Christopher Schirner / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Moscow on Thursday dismissed media reports that Russian hackers piggy-backed on an Iranian cyber-espionage operation to attack government and industry organizations in dozens of countries as an "unsavory" interpretation of a security report.

British security officials have said the Russian group, known as "Turla" and accused by Estonian and Czech authorities of operating on behalf of Russia's FSB security service, has used Iranian tools and computer infrastructure to successfully hack in to organizations in at least 20 different countries over the last 18 months.

"These publications are an unsavory interpretation of a concise report of the British National Cyber Security Centre and the American National Security Agency," a spokesman for the Russian embassy in the U.K. said on the mission's website, referring to the media reports.

"The security services themselves are not putting forward any accusations against Russia and Russian citizens."

The spokesman also said that the reports that the hacker used Iranian infrastructure was an attempt to "drive a wedge" between Russia and Iran.

Turla's actions show the dangers of wrongly attributing cyberattacks, British officials said on Monday, but added that they were not aware of any public incidents that had been incorrectly blamed on Iran as a result of the Russian operation.

Moscow and Tehran have both repeatedly denied Western allegations over hacking.

Western officials rank Russia and Iran as two of the most dangerous threats in cyberspace, alongside China and North Korea, with both governments accused of conducting hacking operations against countries around the world.

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