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US, UK Warn That Russia Has Been Hacking Routers Worldwide

17 April 2018

"Russia is our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace so tackling them is a major priority for the National Cyber Security Centre and our US allies", Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, said in a statement.

A British government spokesman called the global campaign of cyberespionage "yet another example of Russia's disregard for worldwide norms and global order".

The alert said the targets of the campaign were primarily "government and private-sector organizations, critical infrastructure providers, and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) supporting these sectors".

Russian Federation is being accused of a massive campaign to undermine the security of firewalls and routers in a bid to support espionage and future attacks.

"We don't have full insight into the scope of the compromise", said Jeanette Manfra, a cybersecurity official for the US Department of Homeland Security.

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It was the two countries' first such joint alert.

White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce said the United States and its allies had "high confidence" that Russian Federation was behind the campaign.

The warning is unrelated to the administration's recent military strikes on suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria, action Russian Federation condemned.

"When we see malicious cyber activity, whether it be from the Kremlin or other malicious actors, we're going to push back", Joyce said.

It's warned that a Russian government campaign to exploit these devices threatens safety, security, and economic well-being of the USA and the UK.

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The US Department of Defense said there was "no USA military activity in that area at this time". Syria and its main allies Iran and Russian Federation blamed Israel for that attack.

"For over twenty years, GCHQ has been tracking the key Russian cyber-attack groups and today's joint UK-US alert shows that the threat has not gone away".

There is a warning that known vulnerabilities are exploited to modify firmware and operating system, to steal login credentials, monitor and reroute internet traffic and much more. So a hacker can monitor, modify or disrupt it, she said. For owners, they're asked to ensure network devices are up-to-date, change default passwords, and ensure the firmware on the device is from a trusted source.

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.

"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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US, UK Warn That Russia Has Been Hacking Routers Worldwide