Russian hackers 'already targeting United Kingdom for revenge'

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Any compromised hardware might even be used as a foundation for future attacks, the alert theorized.

The joint statement by the DHS, FBI and NCSC said multiple sources including private and public-sector research organisations, as well as other nations, have reported this activity to the USA and United Kingdom governments.

The "purpose of these attacks could be espionage, it could be the theft of intellectual property, and of course, it could be pre-positioning for use in times of tension", said Ciaran Martin, Chief Executive of the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

This could be used be used to mount a future offensive, it warned.

"We have high confidence that Russian Federation has carried out a coordinated campaign to compromise. routers, residential and business - the things you and I have in our home", said Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator. Attackers also sought to undermine the firewalls and intrusion detection systems organisations used to spot malicious traffic before it reached users.

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The router hacking operation has targeted both government and private sector groups, and the key providers of network infrastructure and internet services serving them.

It is worth saying that Britain and the USA will be carrying out nearly identical activities in Russia, pre-positioning in Russian networks to be able to respond.

"This attempt by Russian Federation is a sharp reminder that Australian businesses and individuals are constantly targeted by malicious state and non-state actors, and we must maintain rigorous cyber security practices", Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said.

Ciaran Martin, director-general for cyber security at GCHQ, said Russian Federation could try to bring down water, gas and electricity systems, as well as banks, hospitals and transport.

According to Martin, numerous techniques used by Russian Federation, "exploit basic weaknesses in network systems".

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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.

The advice given to firms has included ways to configure their systems correctly and how to apply patches to address hardware vulnerabilities.

The UK was working with America, its other allies and the technology industry to "expose Russia's unacceptable cyber-behaviour, so they are held accountable for their actions", said Mr Martin.

Russian Federation was behind the series of cyber attacks on up to 400 businesses in 2017, Australia has claimed.

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