Thursday, 19 April, 2018


US, UK issue joint warning on Russian hackers

Yulia Skripal with the family's beloved cat Nash van Drake Yulia Skripal with the family's beloved cat Nash van
Bennie Garza | 17 April, 2018, 06:36

The Australian government has confirmed a series of cyberattacks on Australian organisations revealed in August past year were carried out by Russian state-sponsored hackers.

The White House, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and British officials announced Monday that Russian state-sponsored actors targeted millions of internet routers in the United States, the United Kingdom and worldwide. The alert also theorized that this type of compromise to hardware might even be used as a foundation for future attacks.

The technical alert said the USA 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.

Compromised devices were used to look at data passing through them, added Mr Joyce. But it is too early to know for sure if this is the case, since it takes time to spot this - if it is spotted at all - and to be sure it is Russian.

It is worth saying that Britain and the USA will be carrying out nearly identical activities in Russia, pre-positioning in Russian networks to be able to respond.

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.

"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.

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".

According to the alert, systems that have been affected include Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) enabled devices, Cisco Smart Install (SMI) enabled devices, and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) enabled network devices.

The joint statement said that the main targets have been government departments, big companies, firms running 'critical infrastructure, ' and ISPs. Finally, the alert outlined what erratic hardware behavior should indicate a device has been compromised.

The UK was working with America, its other allies and the technology industry to "expose Russia's unacceptable cyber-behaviour, so they are held accountable for their actions", said Mr Martin.

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