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(Reuters) — The U.K. government's cyber defense agency warned Wednesday of an emerging threat to Western critical national infrastructure posed by hackers sympathetic to Russia and its war on Ukraine.
Russia-aligned "hacktivists" have carried out largely harmless online campaigns that have defaced prominent public websites or knocked them offline. However, some of those groups have been actively plotting ways to do more real-world damage, Britain's National Cyber Security Centre, part of the GCHQ eavesdropping intelligence agency, said in an alert.
“Some have stated a desire to achieve a more disruptive and destructive impact against western critical national infrastructure, including in the U.K.,” the NCSC said.
“We expect these groups to look for opportunities to create such an impact, particularly if systems are poorly protected,” said the alert, which was released to press at a two-day conference hosted by the NCSC and GCHQ in Belfast.
Although such groups are ideologically motivated and align themselves with Russian state interests, they are “not subject to formal state control,” the alert said.
“This makes them less predictable,” it said.