Britain has had it: let Russia look to its cyber defenses.
At least three of the Five Eyes (and probably the other two) are scowling hard at Moscow. We may be seeing something that amounts, almost, to declared cyberwar between the UK and Russia. British Prime Minister May told Commons Wednesday that the Government had identified the attackers responsible for the Salisbury nerve agent attacks. She named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, as GRU operatives. She said the attacks were "almost certainly" approved at a high level, and that "the full range of tools from across our national security apparatus" will be used against the GRU. That full range of tools is understood to encompass offensive cyber operations (Times). The Prime Minister briefed US President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, and other allies before the UK took its case the United Nations. The US, France, Canada, and Germany all expressed complete solidarity with Great Britain. "We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, reiterate our outrage at the use of a chemical nerve agent, known as Novichok, in Salisbury on March 4.... We have full confidence in the British assessment that the two suspects were officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU" (BBC).
Russian authorities responded by doubling down on increasingly implausible denial. It's all "lies," a "cheap soap opera" and so forth (BBC). Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said of the Skripal incident that "We are taking it very seriously... we have been asking for cooperation from the U.K. authorities from day one." Russia, he said, has been investigating the incident "for a long time" but he declined to discuss any findings. He categorically denied that Russia has any chemical weapons program and said that Novichok was invented in the West (UN Web TV). No serious person believes the claims about Novichok or Russia's chemical weapons program. Mr. Nebenzya's position was that the aggrieved party here is Russia, and no one else.
The British position is quite unambiguous. GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming, in Washington Thursday for the Billington Cybersecurity Summit, attributed the attempted assassination of the Skripals directly to Russia. He called the Russian threat in cyberspace "real and active," and added that a "team of allies" will deal strongly with that threat.
Some observers think the GRU is becoming an embarrassment for Russian President Putin (Bloomberg). Others think its brazen visibility is quite intentional: let them hate us as long as they fear us (Foreign Policy).