Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

United Kingdom and U.S. authorities warn of Russian attacks on routers

United Kingdom and U.S. authorities warn of Russian attacks on routers

In a joint statement, the British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Department of Homeland Security warned that a global hacking campaign by the Kremlin had already started. The targets number in the millions, officials say, and include "primarily government and private-sector organisations, critical infrastructure providers, and the Internet service providers (ISPs) supporting these sectors".

[.] to support espionage, extract intellectual property, maintain persistent access to victim networks, and potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations.

"We have high confidence that Russian Federation has carried out a coordinated campaign to gain access to enterprise, small office, home office routers known as SOHO routers and residential routers, and the switches and connectors worldwide", said Rob Joyce, special assistant to the President and cybersecurity coordinator at the White House, speaking to journalists.

USA officials said this year that Russian military hackers compromised routers in South Korea in January and deployed new malware when the Olympics began in February.

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It comes as the United Kingdom and USA last night issued an unprecedented joint warning about "malicious cyber activity" by the Kremlin.

"What we've seen in this case is default passwords being exploited, unsecured devices being exploited", said Joyce. The FBI said it is asking the public for help to "remediate" these vulnerabilities, and the Trump administration's cyber czar, Rob Joyce, said the USA government needs the public's help to "undercut the Russian capability to use this as a tool against the world".

The full alert contains indicators of compromise for the attacks, technical details on the tactics, techniques and procedures as well as contextual information regarding observation of the attacks.

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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.

"It's a tremendous weapon in the hands of an adversary", echoed the FBI's Howard Marshall, the deputy assistant director of the cyber division.

The alert - published on the US-CERT website - warns that the "current state of US network devices - coupled with a Russian government campaign to exploit these devices - threatens the safety, security, and economic well-being of the United States". Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency had already warned that Russian Federation was using its cyber capabilities to target democracies.

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