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U.S. and Allies Blame Russia for Cyberattack on Georgia

EntertainmentU.S. and Allies Blame Russia for Cyberattack on Georgia

LONDON — For years, Russia has tormented neighboring countries with targeted cyberattacks, including blackouts in Ukraine and broad online assaults on Estonian institutions.

The United States has rarely publicly attributed blame, though experts found the fingerprints of the Kremlin on those intrusions abroad.

In a break from past practice, the State Department said publicly on Thursday that Russia had been behind a sweeping cyberattack last fall in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. It affected more than 2,000 government and privately run websites, disrupted government operations, and interrupted television broadcasts, including that of the national television station.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo specifically attributed the attack to the Russian military intelligence agency known as the G.R.U. and its Main Center for Special Technology. The State Department linked the Russian military unit to a notorious Russian hacker group known as Sandworm, which is believed to be responsible for some of the most brazen cyberattacks around the world over the past decade.

Vladimer Konstantinidi, a spokesman for Georgia’s foreign ministry, told reporters at a news briefing on Thursday, “The investigation conducted by the Georgian authorities, together with information gathered through cooperation with partners, concluded that this cyberattack was planned and carried out by the main division of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied that Moscow was behind the assault, with the news site RIA quoting Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko as saying, “Russia did not plan and is not planning to interfere in Georgia’s internal affairs in any way.”

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