Russian military to blame for NotPetya cyber attack, says UK Foreign Office.

Russia was behind a major cyber attack that affected countries around the world and cost businesses hundreds of millions of pounds, the UK Government has said.

Ministers claimed Russian military intelligence was responsible for the NotPetya attack last June, which took down IT systems in Ukraine before spreading to 64 other countries, including the UK.

In an unusually strong critique of Vladimir Putin’s government, the Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, accused Moscow of “ripping up the rule book”.

It is understood the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has determined that the Russian military was “almost certainly” behind the attack. Moscow has denied suggestions that it was to blame, pointing out that Russian computers were also affected.

The Government does not normally disclose who it believes is behind attacks affecting the UK. That it chose to do so on this occasion “underlines the fact that the UK and its allies will not tolerate malicious cyber activity,” the Foreign Office said.

he attack is believed to have caused businesses globally to lose up to £850m. One of the companies affected was British manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser, which owns brands such as Dettol, Durex and Strepsils. Analysts believe the firm lost up to £100m as a result of the virus.