Moscow: Russia has said it has foiled a series of cyber attacks on its banks planned to have started on 5 December.
Russia’s domestic security agency the FSB claimed foreign intelligence agencies were behind the plot and were aiming to destabilise the country’s financial system.
It said in a statement: “It was planned that the cyber attack would be accompanied by a mass send-out of SMS messages and publications in social media of a provocative nature regarding a crisis in the Russian banking system, bankruptcies and licence withdrawals.
“The FSB is carrying out the necessary measures to neutralise threats to Russia’s economic and information security.”
The agency said the computer servers involved were in the Netherlands and belonged to Ukrainian company BlazingFast but did not say which countries’ intelligence agencies were involved.
Anton Onoprichuk, director of the Kiev-based firm, said no-one had contacted him and he was waiting for more information so he could investigate.
Asked if his servers could be used to to instigate a cyber attack, he said: “Technically it is possible. It is possible with any hosting company, where you rent a server.
“You can attack whatever (you want) from it and in 99% of cases it will become known only after the event.”
Russia has been on high alert since President Obama’s government accused Russia of carrying out a series of hacks on the US with the aim of interfering with November’s presidential election – Moscow denied the claims.
US Vice President Joe Biden said at the time that his country would mount a “proportional” response to Russia.
Since then, there have been a number of cyber attacks affecting Russian institutions, though it is unclear if they were linked to the row between Moscow and Washington.
Meanwhile, US politicians in Congress have passed a bill calling for a high-level panel to counter Russian political interference around the globe.
President-elect Donald Trump in his campaign promised to improve US relations with Moscow.
Mr Trump has drawn criticism for repeatedly praising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership and advocating a closer working relationship with Russia, despite its record of human rights abuses and recent military incursions in Ukraine and Syria.