United States and UK accuse Russian Federation of laying groundwork for massive cyber attack

Germany says it has to assume Russia behind recent cyber attack

The attack focused on governments, businesses, "critical infrastructure", and internet service providers.

Australian intelligence agencies have identified Russian Federation as the actor behind a series of cyber attacks on Australia, the United States and the UK in 2017, the government has revealed.

The goal of the announcement Monday was to warn corporations and individuals to protect themselves against attacks.

The joint UK-US statement warned of the "sustained targeting of multiple entities" over a series of months, with Russian state-sponsored actors using "compromised routers" to "support espionage... and potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations".

Since 2015, the United States government has been receiving information from multiple sources - including private and public sector cyber security research organisations and allies - that cyber actors were exploiting large numbers of enterprise-class and residential routers and switches worldwide.

The FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have issued a joint Technical Alert about malicious cyber activity conducted by the Russian Government.

The US and British governments jointly tracked the latest campaign, which has targeted millions of machines globally, said Ciaran Martin, chief executive of Britain's NCSC, the government's central cybersecurity agency.

"It's a tremendous weapon in the hand of an adversary", said Howard Marshall, FBI's deputy assistant director for cybersecurity.

More news: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid leaves for Arab Summit in Saudi Arabia

Earlier this month, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warned it would use its collective defence mechanism for only the second time if it were hit by a devastating cyber attack.

A joint US-UK statement has been made on malicious cyber activity carried out by the Russian government.

"This is a global threat", Manfra said.

US and British officials warned that infected routers could be used to launch future offensive cyber operations.

United States 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.

In June and July 2017 they saw Russian actors using software created by Internet network company Cisco that allows networks to be profiled to scan for vulnerable systems and routers.

Ms Manfra said the campaign was widespread and could cover "everything from large enterprises to small home offices".

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