The United States and United Kingdom on Monday issued a joint technical alert, warning the world of “malicious cyber activity” by Russia, AFP reported.
“The targets of this malicious cyber activity are primarily government and private-sector organisations, critical infrastructure providers and the Internet Service Providers supporting these sectors,” the joint statement read. The alert was issued by UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security.
Britain and the US accused Moscow of launching cyber attacks on routers, firewalls and other networking equipment used by government agencies, businesses and critical infrastructure operators around the globe, according to Reuters. They warned everyone – from internet service providers to home office customers – to heed the warning.
“When we see malicious cyber activity, whether it be from the Kremlin or other malicious nation-state actors, we are going to push back,” said Rob Joyce, the White House cyber security coordinator, told Reuters. “Russia-sponsored actors are using compromised routers to conduct spoofing ‘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,” the UK and US warned.
Australia too joined the UK and the US in publicly blaming Russia for a “malicious global cyber attack last year,” reported The Guardian. However, it is not a signatory of the joint technical alert.
“Based on advice from Australian intelligence agencies, and in consultation with our allies, the Australian government has determined that Russian state-sponsored actors are responsible for this [global cyber attack] activity, which occurred in 2017,” said Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor.
The joint statement comes even as relations between the US and UK and Moscow have worsened after Washington, London and France conducted airstrikes targeting alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria, in retaliation to a suspected chemical attack in Douma, which they blamed on the Syrian government. Russia is a key ally of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.