Russian cyber-experts may have hacked security systems to 'help Novichok hitmen get through UK border security'

An expert says hackers could have enabled Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to get through Gatwick passport control, then leave via Heathrow.


The pair arrived in the UK on March 2 and left two days later — hours after poisoning ex-spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia by putting the nerve agent on his door handle in Salisbury.

The hitmen travelled on Russian passports and visas with false names.

But security services were on alert because it was known that Moscow-based Yulia, 33, was in Britain visiting her 67-year-old father.

Security expert Hamish de Bretton Gordon said it was “highly possible” cyber spooks “manipulated” Border Force systems to make the hitmen appear respectable.

He said: “The Russians are the best in the world at cyber activity so could have put in false information to make this pair look more like legitimate businessmen.

“They seem to have passed through electronic gates at the same time, which suggests something was done to stop them being flagged up as suspicious and help them get through checks.

Security services would have known all about Yulia Skripal visiting her dad.

“So two Russians travelling together like they did at this time would normally have raised alarm bells.

But they were not even questioned although they were only here a few days.”

It was claimed yesterday that the UK authorities delayed naming ­Petrov and Boshirov until after the World Cup to avoid putting England fans in Russia in danger.

Assassin jailed by UK cops

A man named Alexander Petrov was among Russian criminals who threatened to shut down online bookies unless they paid £3million.

British detectives traced them and Petrov, then in his 20s, was jailed for eight years by the Russian authorities.

It is thought he was recruited by Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU after release.

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