Pompeo condemns Russian cyberattack on country of Georgia

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with top foreign officials from almost a dozen other nations, on Thursday strongly condemned a major Russian cyberattack on the country of Georgia that significantly disrupted operations across government and media organizations.

The October attack by Russian intelligence officers disrupted and damaged servers within the Georgian president’s office, the country’s judicial system and multiple government municipalities, and interrupted the broadcasts of at least two major television stations.

Pompeo described the attack in a statement on Thursday as an effort by Russia to “sow division, create insecurity, and undermine democratic institutions,” and noted that it “contradicts” Russia’s claims that it is a responsible state actor in cyberspace.

“The United States calls on Russia to cease this behavior in Georgia and elsewhere. The stability of cyberspace depends on the responsible behavior of nations,” Pompeo said. “We, together with the international community, will continue our efforts to uphold an international framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.”

Global reaction: The United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre publicly assessed Thursday with the “highest level of probability” that Russia carried out these attacks, and that the attacks were “part of Russia’s long-running campaign of hostile and destabilizing behavior towards Georgia.”

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the Russian attack represented a “breach of Georgia’s sovereignty,” emphasizing that the attack “disrupted society” along with endangering the Georgian population and national security.

“Georgia will continue to work closely with its partners to strengthen cyber security at the national level to minimize future risks and potential threats,” the ministry said. “We call on the international community to give due consideration to this fact.”

U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the attacks on Georgia were “totally unacceptable,” and vowed the British government would continue exposing Russian aggression in cyberspace.