Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

U.S. and United Kingdom issue warning on Russian Federation cyberattacks

U.S. and United Kingdom issue warning on Russian Federation cyberattacks

American and British officials said that the attacks disclosed on Monday affected a wide range of organisations including internet service providers, private businesses and critical infrastructure providers.

He said: "I suspect Russian Federation will choose not to respond in military terms.

The attribution of this malicious activity sends a clear message to Russian Federation - we know what you are doing and you will not succeed".

"These devices actually make ideal targets", Jeanette Manfra, the top Homeland Security cybersecurity official said. Officials said that the attacks spanned several months, though noted that they do not have a full picture of the scope of the activity. "To say we know where this came from ... and it's unacceptable behaviour".

"When we see malicious cyber activity, whether it be from the Kremlin or other malicious nation state actors, we are going to push back", said Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator.

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Britain is not the only country angered by Russia's recent activities online as the German government has revealed that Russian Federation was most likely behind a cyber attack on its Foreign Ministry.

Britain and the U.S. have previously flagged responses including fresh sanctions, indictments and online retaliation.

Advice circulated by USA and United Kingdom authorities warned Cisco routers - a common commercial brand - were affected.

"We can't rule out the possibility that Russian Federation may intend to use this set of compromises for future offensive cyber-operations as well".

"Most traffic within an an organization or between an organization and externally must traverse these types of devices". So a hacker can monitor, modify or disrupt it, she said.

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The warning goes on to elaborate on the reasons it's easy to find vulnerable network devices: They tend to get less security attention than servers.

Howard Marshall, Deputy Assistant Director in the FBI's cyber division, commented on the threat saying: "Once you own the router, you own the traffic".

The agencies, which include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, do not know precisely how many routers, firewalls and switches have been compromised and to what extent.

He also suggested the three countries may have sat quietly on the intelligence because they were "using the knowledge" to understand Russia's methods.

- Critical network components targeted -The hacking effort goes to the critical components of a computer network: the routers, switches and firewalls created to safely and accurate deliver data from one computer to another.

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US-CERT said the Russian "Grizzly Steppe" government hackers had exploited legacy and weak protocols, and network service ports against a large number of enterprise, small to medium sized business and residential routers and switches worldwide since 2015.

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