Last week US President Barack Obama delivered his overdue speech on NSA snooping and in the process he took a few swipes at other major powers. Obama noted that come countries were very critical of US surveillance programmes, while at the same time they had very extensive programmes of their own.
Russia appears to top that list on more than one level. It has a huge security apparatus and at the same time it is criticizing the west it is doing a bit of snooping of its own. It has also granted temporary asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
According to US security firm CrowdStrike, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that the Russian government spied on hundreds of European, Asian and of course American companies. The goals were not political and they had nothing to do with security, terrorism or criticism of Russia’s pseudodemocratic regime. It appears to be a case industrial espionage, which sort of makes wish the ideology driven KGB was still around.
CrowdStrike told Reuters that the attacks appear to have been motivated by Russia’s interest in helping its industry maintain competitiveness. Targets included energy and technology companies and some of them lost valuable intellectual property. Defence contractors, government agencies and even some healthcare providers were targeted as well.
The firm is confident that the Russian Government was behind the attacks, staged by an elite group of hackers dubbed “Energetic Bear” by the security outfit.