Russian hackers start targeting critical United Kingdom national infrastructure

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The threat alert said that attackers were trying to hack into computer networks at government and private sector organisations, as well as internet service providers. First, this type of effort has targeted millions of machines to spy on ISP customers, organizations and government agencies.

"We condemn the actions and hold the Kremlin responsible for the malicious activities", said Jeanette Manfra, the chief cybersecurity official for the Department of Homeland Security.

"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 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.

It comes from United Kingdom and US authorities who have issued a joint cybersecurity alert for the first time ever to warn people of the threat.

U.S. 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.

Law enforcement and cyber security minister Angus Taylor said a "significant" number of organisations were targeted in the wide-ranging attack reported by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

"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", Taylor said.

The aim of the alert is to warn businesses, individuals, ISPs and device manufacturers about a perceived campaign by the Russian government, and to give details of what to look out for.

According to the UK-US alert, hackers have been scanning devices broadly on the internet and attempting to trick them into giving up login credentials, or trying default passwords, which then allow the hackers to control the devices.

One way to protect against this is for Americans and others to change the passwords on their routers, the officials said.

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 United States allies".

"We have high confidence that Russian Federation has carried out a coordinated campaign to compromise. routers, residential and business - the things you and I have in our home", said Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator.



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