Australia blames Russian Federation over hacking of 400 companies in 2017

Yulia Skripal with the family's beloved cat Nash van Drake

Yulia Skripal with the family's beloved cat Nash van Drake

Russian Federation is hacking millions of computers in a "sustained" campaign to pave the way for a crippling cyberattack, senior officials in the United States and the United Kingdom have warned.

American and British officials said the attacks affected a wide range of organizations including Internet service providers, private businesses and critical infrastructure providers.

USA and British officials said the infected routers could be leveraged to launch future offensive cyber operations.

Government-backed Russian hackers are using compromised routers and other network infrastructure to conduct espionage and potentially lay the groundwork for future offensive cyber operations, United Kingdom and U.S. authorities have warned.

So if you're responsible for telecommunications infrastructure equipment, do your jobs, please, and harden these devices!

Officials said that Russian Federation targeted "millions" of network devices as part of the coordinated campaign, including small office/home office routers and residential routers.

The US and Britain warned on Monday of a Russian government-sponsored cyber attack against internet network infrastructure around the world.

"The points which this reinforces for us as a government, and should reinforce for all Australians, is that vigilance is absolutely imperative in terms of cyber security", Payne told reporters Tuesday.

The Australian Government has banded together with the United States and United Kingdom in accusing Russian Federation of carrying out malicious global cyber attacks in 2017 targeting commercially available routers.

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The compromise of what they claim are millions of networking devices is part of a campaign to "conduct espionage and intellectual property theft", the officials have warned.

Up to 400 companies in Australia could become the target of hacker attacks from Russian Federation in 2017.

"We condemn this latest activity in the strongest possible terms and we will not accept nor tolerate any malign foreign cyber operations, intrusions, or compromises-to include influence operations", said Jeanette Manfra, the chief cybersecurity official at Homeland Security.

"We will bring every tool to bear against them in every corner of cyberspace", FBI's Howard Marshall who was also on the conference call during the statement said.

At the technical level, attacks varied in methodology, scope, and goal.

Russia and the Western governments have also recalled diplomats in a back and forth over British accusations that the Kremlin used a nerve agent to try to assassinate a former Russian spy living near London.

We know what you are doing and you will not succeed, "he added".

- Critical network components targeted -The hacking effort goes to the critical components of a computer network: the routers, switches and firewalls created to safely and accurate deliver data from one computer to another.

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