The U.K.’s National Crime Agency and National Cyber Security Centre have been investigating a suspected Russian hack into a British institute that “seeks to counter Russian disinformation,” Sky News reports. Government sources reportedly said the Russian military intelligence service, known as the GRU, is thought to behind the attack into the Integrity Initiative as a response to the British government blaming them for the Salisbury spy poisoning in 2018. The hackers reportedly stole documents from the institute and leaked them to a third party, which posted them online. Russian media has since reported on the hacked documents, reportedly claiming they prove that Britain has been instigating “anti-Russian sentiment” and meddling in the affairs of other countries. The National Cyber Security Centre had been investigating the hack since last year, and the National Crime Agency—which has power to investigate “overseas” cases—started probing the incident in recent weeks.
If the attack is confirmed, Sky News reports that is could mark the first time Russia has targeted Britain in a “hack-and-leak operation.” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Sky News that the “Russian state has nothing to do with any cyber attacks[.]”