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Friday, 16 April 2021 07:16

US alleges Russia behind SolarWinds compromise, imposes curbs on six firms Featured

US alleges Russia behind SolarWinds compromise, imposes curbs on six firms Image by MariaShvedova from Pixabay

The United States has alleged that the Russian security agency known as the Foreign Intelligence Service was responsible for the attack on the supply chain of SolarWinds Orion network management software.

In a statement issued on Thursday US time, the White House said American intelligence agencies had "high confidence" in this assessment.

To date, no cyber security company, including FireEye, the firm that first made the SolarWinds compromise public, has attributed the attack to any country.

FireEye publicised the SolarWinds compromise in December last year, five days after having revealed that its own Red Team tools had been stolen.

The US Government used its allegations as the basis for imposing restrictions on a number of Russian companies, all of which are claimed to have supported Russian intelligence services.

The companies are:

  • ERA Technopolis;
  • Pasit, AO (Pasit);
  • Federal State Autonomous Scientific Establishment Scientific Research Institute Specialised Security Computing Devices and Automation (SVA);
  • Neobit, OOO (Neobit);
  • Advanced System Technology, AO (AST); and
  • Pozitiv Teknolodzhiz, AO (Positive Technologies.

The following description of what the companies do was provided:

"ERA Technopolis is a research centre and technology park funded and operated by the Russian Ministry of Defence. It houses and supports units of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate responsible for offensive cyber and information operations and leverages the personnel and expertise of the Russian technology sector to develop military and dual-use technologies.

"Pasit is a Russia-based IT company that conducted research and development in support of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service’s malicious cyber operations.

"SVA is a Russian state-owned research institute specialising in advanced systems for information security located in Russia. SVA conducted research and development in support of the SVR’s malicious cyber operations.

"Neobit is a Saint Petersburg, Russia-based IT security firm whose clients include the Russian Ministry of Defence, SVR, and Russia’s Federal Security Service. Neobit conducted research and development in support of the cyber operations conducted by the FSB, GRU, and SVR.

"AST is a Russian IT security firm whose clients include the Russian Ministry of Defence, SVR, and FSB. AST provided technical support to cyber operations conducted by the FSB, GRU, and SVR.

"Positive Technologies is a Russian IT security firm that supports Russian Government clients, including the FSB. Positive Technologies provides computer network security solutions to Russian businesses, foreign governments, and international companies and hosts large-scale conventions that are used as recruiting events for the FSB and GRU."

The UK later said it backed the US announcement. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "We see what Russia is doing to undermine our democracies. The UK and US are calling out Russia’s malicious behaviour, to enable our international partners and businesses at home to better defend and prepare themselves against this kind of action.

"The UK will continue to work with allies to call out Russia’s malign behaviour where we see it."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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