Tag: Kiddo

Russia may have hacked British visa system to gain documents for Skripal

The man said he was coerced to sign an agreement to collaborate with the FSB after one of its officers threatened to jail his mother, and was asked to create a “backdoor” to the computer network. Russia may have hacked the British visa system to gain documents for the agents who attempted to assassinate the Skripals, an investigation has claimed.  The probe suggests that Russian intelligence infiltrated the computer infrastructure of a company – TLSContact – that processes British visa applications.The investigation, published Friday by investigative group Bellingcat and Russian website The Insider, aims to show how the two Russian military intelligence agents who have been charged with the Salisbury poisoning may have obtained British visas.The former chief technical officer of a company that processes visa applications for several consulates in Moscow, including that of Britain, was interviewed as part of the joint investigation.The man, who fled Russia last year and applied for asylum in the United States, said he had been coerced to work with agents of the main Russian intelligence agency FSB, who revealed to him that they had access to the British visa centre’s CCTV cameras and had a diagram of the centre’s computer network.The source also said that FSB officers told him in spring 2016 that they were going to send two people to Britain and asked for his assistance with the visa applications.The timing points to the first reported trip to Britain of Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga, who have been charged with poisoning Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March this year having raveled under the names of Alexander Petrov and Anatoly Boshirov. He said he sabotaged those efforts before he fled Russia in early 2017 and claims he told the FSB that there was no way he could influence the decision-making on visa applications.The Insider and Bellingcat are still working on establishing a clear link between the alleged efforts of Russian intelligence to penetrate the visa processing system.The two outlets say they have obtained the man’s deposition to the US authorities but have decided against publishing the man’s name, for his own safety. In September, British intelligence released surveillance images of the agents of Russian military intelligence GRU accused of the March nerve agent attack on double agent Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.The visa application processing company, TLSContact, and the British Home Office were not immediately available for comment.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more