News and Commentary

Report: Russian Hackers Targeting Lab That’s Testing Poison Used In London Attack

According to, the Swiss edition Blick is reporting that Russian hackers have likely attacked the lab in Switzerland that tested for Novichok used in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the British city of Salisbury.

Eurointegration reports:

The Swiss laboratory Spiez, which specializes in preventing chemical, biological and nuclear threats, was probably attacked by a group of hackers associated with Russia. This is reported by the Swiss edition Blick. The Berne Laboratory in Canton probably has become a target for hackers because of its role in investigating the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the British city of Salisbury. The laboratory was involved in the examination of the neuroparalytic substance that was used for poisoning.


Hackers from the Sandworm group affiliated with the Russian government were represented by the members of the organizing committee of the laboratory and circulated a document with instructions on the upcoming chemical weapons conference scheduled for September. The Word document contained information about the conference. The file also installed malware. Cybercriminals used a false e-mail address and targeted chemical weapons experts invited to the conference.

Kurt Menger of the Federal Civil Protection Department stated, “Somebody acted on behalf of the laboratory. We immediately informed the conference that the document was not ours and pointed to danger. The laboratory itself did not register any data outflow.”

Yulia Skirpal has said she flew to London on March 3 to visit her father. On March 4, the Skripals were found comatose on a park bench. Sergei Skripal served time in jail in Russia after being accused of spying for Great Britain; he was exchanged in 2010 in a spy swap.

According to detectives, Novichok was smeared on the front door handle of Skripal’s Salisbury home. Novichok was created in the former Soviet Union in a secret research facility in Shikhany.

In March, British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament it was “highly likely” that Moscow poisoned Skirpal.