US, UK issue joint alert warning of Russian cyberattacks

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U.S. and United Kingdom officials say Russian state-sponsored hackers have been historically targeting Internet routing equipment in order "to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks to support espionage, extract intellectual property, maintain persistent access to victim networks, and potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations".

Russian Federation has not responded to the joint alert.

"What we've seen in this case is default passwords being exploited, unsecured devices being exploited", said Joyce.

"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. Rather, it is part of a broader ongoing effort by the United States government to call out bad behaviour in cyberspace and impose costs as a deterrent.

Monday's announcement is the latest in a series of related moves by the Trump administration, which in recent months has publicly blamed Russian Federation for launching the NotPetya worm that has been characterised as the costliest and most destructive cyberattack in history.

Previously the two nations have spoken only of attacks "originating from Russia", with lines between Russian criminals and state activity being blurred, but they pinned blame on the Kremlin on this occasion.

The chief of Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) based at GCHQ in Cheltenham, Glos, said Russian Federation was "our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace" and that "dealing with their attacks is a major priority" for British and American spooks.

Network infrastructure devices make particularly attractive targets as they are the nexus for massive amounts of internet traffic and tend to be maintained far less diligently than the devices that people use every day, like computers and mobile devices. So a hacker can monitor, modify or disrupt it, she said.

Worryingly, the style of attack detected means hackers have permanent access to the networks they have infiltrated. The government's cybersecurity office has contacted the said businesses to alert them. Third, this allows attackers to cripple firewalls and intrusion detection systems that organizations use to glam malicious traffic, according to the BBC.

"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". It was not clear Monday whether that compromise was part of the same campaign.

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