Russian hackers 'already targeting United Kingdom for revenge'

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Russian hackers 'already targeting United Kingdom for revenge'

It has also been suggested that compromised hardware might not only allow hackers to gain access to user information, but it could also be used as a foundation for future attacks.

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

"We have high confidence 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", Joyce said in a conference call.

"Many of the techniques used by Russian Federation exploit basic weaknesses in network systems", said Mr Martin.

Russian hackers are trying to gain access to the devices that control the flow of internet traffic, the USA and United Kingdom warned Monday in an alert for organizations and individuals worldwide.

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Both countries have accused Moscow of concerted efforts to use social media to interfere with public affairs, particularly with the British Brexit referendum and United States presidential election in 2016.

The technical alert said the USA government had been receiving information that the cyber actors had been exploiting switches - named by the ACSC as "switches with Cisco Smart Install accessible from the internet, and routers or switches with Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) enabled and exposed to the internet" - since 2015.

Device owners often fail to change default settings, perform security hardening, or commit to regular patching.

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

Taylor said while the devices could have been used to access sensitive data, there was "no indication" Australian information had been compromised.

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American and British crimefighters have launched another round of pin-the-tail-on-the-Russians - with a warning that Moscow-backed hackers are trying to subvert the world's network devices.

"The UK government will continue to work with the USA, other worldwide allies and industry partners to expose Russia's unacceptable cyber behaviour, so they are held accountable for their actions".

The alert came from the Britain's National Cyber Security Centre, DHS and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mr Martin said GCHQ, NCSC's parent organisation, had tracked the threat posed by Russian cyber-gangs for more than 20 years.

The joint US-UK alert comes days after Home Secretary Amber Rudd warned that the UK had been hit by 49 cyberattacks from Russian groups in the last six months.

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"Russia is our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace."

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