Russian and Iranian state-linked hackers are increasingly targeting British politicians, journalists and researchers with sophisticated campaigns aimed at gaining access to a person’s email, Britain’s online security agency warned on Thursday.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued an alert about two groups from Russia and Iran, warning those in government, defence, thinktanks and the media against clicking on malicious links from people posing as conference hosts, journalists or even colleagues.
Both groups have been active for some years, but it is understood they have recently stepped up their activities in the UK as the war in Ukraine continues, as well as operating in the US and other Nato countries. They aim to steal secrets – or leak correspondence online to embarrass high-profile figures – but not to extort money.
Paul Chichester, NCSC’s operations director, said the “threat actors based in Russia and Iran” from the two separate groups “continue to ruthlessly pursue their targets in an attempt to steal online credentials and compromise potentially sensitive systems”.