Russian Officials Deny Existence of Cyber Warfare Corps
Loop Images / UIG / TASS
Russia’s Communications Ministry has denied any knowledge of a Russian cyber corps carrying out attacks on foreign computer systems, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
Alexey Volin, Russia’s deputy communications minister, said his department played no part in financing cyber-warfare and “knew of no such agency.”
"The Communications Ministry has nothing to do with it; we don’t know anything about it," he told journalists.
Viktor Ozerov, the head of Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, earlier also denied that a cyber-warfare division even existed within the Russian Armed Forces.
"We do not interfere in any information system in peacetime, be it military or civilian," he said, adding that Russia only has the task of protecting its own information systems.
Their words come despite a recent recruitment drive by the Russian military for specialized "science companies," asking potential recruits with programming knowledge to apply.
A longer expose by Russia's Meduza news website also found evidence that the country's security services were actively involved in cyber warfare.
The Kremlin has repeatedly been accused of orchestrating the leak of some 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), in a scandal which led to the resignation of DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
U.S. intelligence agencies claim that the Kremlin planned the hack to deliberately discredit Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and interfere with the U.S. presidential election.
Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama said that “all Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions.” President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and their families from the country in retaliation for the alleged hack.
The Kremlin has called the accusations “absurd” and denies any involvement.
One of Russia’s top cyber-security companies, Zecurion Analytics, released a report on Tuesday which claimed that 1,000 people were employed by Russia’s cyber corps, with an estimated budget of $300 million.
The report maintains that the United States has remained the world’s strongest cyberpower, with experts estimating that as many as 9,000 hackers may be working for a state-funded cyber warfare corps.