Russian Federation blamed after cyber attacks hit up to 400 Australian businesses

17 April, 2018, 20:31 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Cyber security has become a focal point of the strained relations between Britain and Russia

The alert warns that the main targets of this malicious cyber activity are critical infrastructure providers and government and private sector organisations, as well as ISPs supporting these sectors.

According to a joint statement between British intelligence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the White House National Security Council and Homeland Security on Monday, Russian "cyber actors" had compromised routers, which are used to connect computers to the internet, to breach security systems and steal information.

In a statement, the NCSC said attacks were directed at key "network infrastructure devices" such as routers, switches, ISPSs and firewalls.

"Russian state-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 statement said.

In the joint announcement the United Kingdom and USA express concern the Russians may be laying the groundwork for a future cyber attack against the western allies.

Officials said the activity had been under observation for "some time" and was not directly related to missile strikes on Syria.

"We in Britain can independently corroborate all of the detection work in this report to validate the assessment of United States colleagues, and we can also confirm that all of the attacks mentioned in this report have directly affected Britain", he said.

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"We hold the Kremlin responsible", said Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security.

Howard Marshall, who works in the FBI's cyber-division and who was on the conference call, said: "We will bring every tool to bear against them in every corner of cyberspace". "We can't rule out Russian Federation may attempt to use this [hacked] infrastructure for further attacks".

"This is a global threat", Manfra said.

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre said: "Russia is our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace so tackling them is a major priority for the National Cyber Security Centre and our U.S. allies".

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.

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

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