Russian agents allegedly tried to hack lab associated with Skirpal poisoning investigation


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Was just friendly security test offered free of charge courtesy of manly leader of all Russias. Why is backwards West so unwilling to accept his help? / IRA St Petersburg.


Why would the Russian President of the United States, Donny the Two Burgers friends in Russia do such a thing?


That 400 pound guy really gets around.


Were not spies! Were plumbers!


On vacation! Sightseeing!!


Oh, those Russians.

Not just for their ‘meddling’ but also their alphabet - I’ve only ever so far seen or heard the victims’ name as Skripal. I was going to ask why it was consistently misspelt in the post. Checking online though, I see Skirpal is indeed used by some respectable organs of news dissemination, but this spelling has never come to my attention previously. So I’m assuming Russian language/alphabet uncertainty re roman equivalents.


If there wasn’t so much ghastly horror in this story it would be kind of funny. Who the hell picks Salisbury as their top sightseeing destination in the UK?


One thing about labs like this (though I don’t know anything about the Spiez lab specifically) is that it’s kind of hard to hack the data. Lots of stuff still happens on dead tree stuff in lab notebooks, and printouts are pretty common. Analytic chemists are usually pretty meticulous about records and have very good memories of what the data looks like. Something novel like a novichok agent has features seared into the memory of any chemist who even glanced at preliminary data. They’re going to notice if something important changed, and they’re likely to have a printout to compare it to. A good analytical chemist using the right methods doesn’t need very much sample, making repeat testing possible, as well.

Thing is, Russia likely knows this, so a hack might not necessarily be about changing the data (that might raise even more red flags). Instead it might be about knowing what is known so that they can get their story straight ahead of any revelations. That’s just a guess.


It’s a rather lovely city, the cathedral is truly beautiful, and it’s very, very close to Stonehenge and many other places are easily accessed from there, so it is as popular as, say Bath. But to go there and not visit the cathedral, or anywhere else other than an obscure suburb which, by a strange and spooky coincidence, happens to contain the home of a former Russian agent considered a traitor by his former country does make one raise one’s eyebrows…

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