New York Times: The Russian Military Intelligence May Be Involved in the Bulgarian NRA Attack
"The cyberattack against the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency was announced publicly, just as Bulgaria was finalizing the purchase of eight new F-16 fighter jets as part of a US-backed plan to replace Bulgarian Soviet-era fighters and introduce NATO standards into the Bulgarian air force." , writes the American newspaper The New York Times, quoted by BTA.
“The information about the attack leaked to the media from a Russian email address. Upon learning of it, Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov raised the issue of Russian intervention. Several US officials who closely follow Russia's actions say the attack bears the brunt of the Russian military intelligence GRU and that the goal is a campaign for financial and political pressure on key figures in the Bulgarian government. But US spy services have not yet conclusively identified who is behind the attack," the newspaper notes.
"Although an enthusiastic member of NATO, Bulgaria has weak and permeable cyber defense - probably the weakest in the alliance. (In Bulgaria) significant cybercrime is widespread, including sponsored by the Russian state. Any defense is as strong as it is strongest. its weak link and there are fears that information on NATO infrastructure may be obtained during exercises and deployment of alliance forces in Bulgaria, "says former NATO military commander Admiral James Stavridis.
According to some Bulgarian analysts, the newspaper points out that Russia views Bulgaria's membership of NATO and the European Union as a "Trojan horse" that it can use to influence decision making in both organizations when Moscow's interests are at stake. Such a scenario means that Russia continues to have a significant influence on Bulgaria's domestic and foreign policies. Ognian Shentov, director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, claims that Bulgaria is likely to have closest relations with Russia than all other EU member states. "We have always been somewhere in between the Visegrad Four and Russia," Shentov said.
"The most significant means of Russia's influence over Bulgaria is the energy sector. Russia controls one hundred percent of Bulgaria's nuclear energy, one hundred percent of natural gas and most of its fuel supplies," he said. Moscow does not hesitate to use this. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov's first government slammed power in 2013 after a surge in energy led to massive protests that Shentov said were sparked by Russia's recent attack (against the NRA), which stole data of about five million and souls, renews fears about the various ways Russia can influence.
US Department of State officials also acknowledge the severity of the cyber attack, regardless of who committed it. According to them, it is a warning signal to the Bulgarian government at a time when the US and other NATO countries are trying to counteract Russia's malicious influence, the New York Times notes.
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