Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

United Kingdom and USA authorities warn of Russian attacks on routers

United Kingdom and USA authorities warn of Russian attacks on routers

The months-long campaign saw hackers attempt to compromise "millions" of devices - including routers, switches, firewalls and network intrusion detection systems - and officials have that the sustained effort could have been used for espionage, the theft of intellectual property or for "use in times of tension".

"We condemn the actions and hold the Kremlin responsible for the malicious activities", said Jeanette Manfra, the chief cybersecurity official for the Department of Homeland Security.

"It is a tremendous weapon in the hands of an adversary", the Federal Bureau of Investigation cyber division's deputy assistant director Howard Marshall said.

The U.K. and USA blamed Russian hackers for a campaign aimed at taking control of routers inside government, critical infrastructure and internet service providers, but also within small and home offices.

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And after several years of naming and shaming the Russian government for backing the hacking of United States government systems, not much has changed.

Speaking Tuesday in Canberra, Australia's Defense Minister Marise Payne said up to 400 businesses in that country may also have been targeted by the campaign, but she added authorities did not believe "there has been any exploitation of significance". While we don't know which bodies have been affected by the hack, the joint report contains detailed information about how the attacks work, and the resulting signs that the networks and hardware have been compromised.

"We can't rule out that Russian Federation might intend to use this set of compromises for future offensive cyber operations as well, it provides basic infrastructure they can launch from".

Ciaran Martin, head of the NCSC, said Russian Federation was: "our most capable hostile adversary in cyber-space, so dealing with their attacks is a major priority for the National Cyber Security Centre and our USA allies".

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"We have high confidence that Russian Federation has carried out a coordinated campaign to compromise. routers, residential and business - the things you and I have in our home", said Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator.

"The goal of these attacks could be espionage, it could be theft of intellectual property, it could be prepositioning for use in times of tension", NCSC Director Ciaran Martin said.

Looks like it's time to change the default password on your router, especially if you operate a home office.

No sanctions or penalties were announced Monday, and the alert is unrelated to expected sanctions on Russian Federation in coming days, though Joyce reiterated that "all elements of United States power are available to push back" on such hacking efforts.

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