US, UK issue joint alert warning of Russian cyberattacks

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The United States and Britain issued a rare and ominous alert Monday charging Russian Federation of ramping up cyber attacks on American and British companies, government operations and infrastructure.

Ciaran Martin, head of the NCSC, said Russian Federation was: "our most capable hostile adversary in cyber-space, so dealing with their attacks is a major priority for the National Cyber Security Centre and our U.S. allies".

Officials warned that "Russian government-sponsored actors" were using the devices to "extract passwords, intellectual property, and other sensitive information and to lay the groundwork for potential intrusions in the future".

"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.

Specifically, the hackers were exploiting default passwords on users' routers, and exploiting unsecured devices in homes and business. "We expect the British government to declare the same". The alert also theorized that this type of compromise to hardware might even be used as a foundation for future attacks.

The alert urges network device vendors, ISPs, public sector organisations and private corporations of all sizes to read it and act on the recommended mitigation strategies.

The chief of Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) based at GCHQ in Cheltenham, Glos, said Russian Federation was "our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace" and that "dealing with their attacks is a major priority" for British and American spooks.

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"Russia is our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace", said Ciaran Martin, chief executive officer of Britain's NCSC.

"For over twenty years, GCHQ has been tracking the key Russian cyber-attack groups and today's joint UK-US alert shows that the threat has not gone away".

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

"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", he added.

The FBI also pledged to do whatever it takes to combat Russian cyberattacks.

United Kingdom and USA release technical alert warning of attacks since 2015. Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency had already warned that Russian Federation was using its cyber capabilities to target democracies.

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