Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

United Kingdom and UK are warning that Russian Federation has been hacking routers worldwide

United Kingdom and UK are warning that Russian Federation has been hacking routers worldwide

In a joint statement, the British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Department of Homeland Security warned that a global hacking campaign by the Kremlin had already started.

The technical alert said the U.S. 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. This is because if the reports are to be believed, Russian Federation has apparently been hacking routers in homes around the world.

"We can't rule out that Russian Federation might intend to use this set of compromises for future offensive cyber operations as well, it provides basic infrastructure they can launch from".

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

"What we've seen in this case is default passwords being exploited, unsecured devices being exploited", said Joyce.

It says that the USA government has information about threats from cyber attacks seeking to exploit routers and network switches en masse dating back to 2015.

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 U.S. and United Kingdom governments. This report contains indicators of compromise (IOCs) and contextual information regarding observed behaviors on the networks of compromised victims.

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Network infrastructure devices make particularly attractive targets as they are the nexus for massive amounts of internet traffic and tend to be maintained far less diligently than the devices that people use every day, like computers and mobile devices.

Russian Federation is using compromised computer network equipment to attack US and British companies and government agencies, the two countries warned in an unprecedented joint alert.

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the UK's National Cyber Security Centre, called it "a very significant moment as we hold Russian Federation to account and we improve our cyber defenses at the same time".

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"It's a tremendous weapon in the hands of an adversary", echoed the FBI's Howard Marshall, the deputy assistant director of the cyber division.

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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