Russian state hackers are "targeting internet infrastructure"

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GETTYMany fear that Russia could take revenge after the US-led airstrikes in Syria

Britain and the United States said they issued the alert to help targets protect themselves and persuade victims to share information with government investigators.

A Kremlin spokesman called the claim unfounded and "feeble".

"Victims were identified through a coordinated series of actions between US and worldwide partners", according to a companion technical alert issued by the US Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT).

A month ago, US-CERT issued a joint DHS-FBI analysis on "Russian government actions targeting USA government entities as well as organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors".

Washington and London have detailed how Russian-backed hackers have been compromising network devices around the world since 2015. Officials said that the attacks spanned several months, though noted that they do not have a full picture of the scope of the activity.

"As before, no one - neither our colleagues in the USA or in Britain - has bothered to provide at least some kind of argumentation, even of the weakest kind".

"We think such feeble accusations have lost all meaning".

The hackers were able to use default login credentials, and guess weak passwords; they were also able to use credentials already leaked on the internet, as many organisations permit passwords that can be derived from existing data breaches.

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"We are pushing back and we are pushing back hard", he said.

"The current state of USA and United Kingdom network devices, coupled with a Russian government campaign to exploit these devices, threatens our respective safety, security, and economic well-being", the technical alert said. While millions of devices were targeted, Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security, said only a small number were actually hacked.

The alert explains that Russian cyber actors can modify or deny traffic travelling through network infrastructure, without installing any new software on these devices.

The hackers don't need to use zero-day vulnerabilities or install malware on the routers, the report says.

"Based on advice from Australian intelligence agencies, and in consultation with our allies, the Australian government has determined that Russian state-sponsored actors are responsible for this activity, which occurred in 2017", the minister for law enforcement and cybersecurity, Angus Taylor, said in a said in a statement.

"This activity isn't always to steal information from the network targeted in these operations", said Joyce.

In the last several months, the USA has attributed the WannaCry ransomware campaign to North Korea, the NotPetya attack to Russian Federation, and confirmed Russia's cyber intrusions into our energy grid.

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