U.S., Britain blame Russia for global cyberattack

By Jim Finkle and Doina Chiacu

The United States and Britain on Monday accused Russia of launching cyberattacks on computer routers, firewalls and other networking equipment used by government agencies, businesses and critical infrastructure operators around the globe.

Washington and London issued a joint alert saying the campaign by Russian government-backed hackers was intended to advance spying, intellectual property theft and other"malicious" activities and could be escalated to launch offensive attacks.

It followed a series of warnings by Western governments that Moscow is behind a string of cyberattacks. The United States, Britain and other nations in February accused Russia of releasing the "NotPetya" virus, which in 2017 crippled parts of Ukraine's infrastructure and damaged computers across the globe, costing companies billions of dollars.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Russia's embassy in London issued a statement citing British accusations of cyber threats from Moscow as"striking examples of a reckless, provocative and unfounded policy against Russia."

Moscow has denied previous accusations that it carried out cyberattacks on the United States and other countries.

U.S. intelligence agencies last year accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 election with a hacking and propaganda campaign supporting Donald Trump's campaign for president. Last month the Trump administration blamed Russia for a campaign of cyberattacks that targeted the U.S. power grid.

American and British officials said that the attacks disclosed on Monday affected a wide range of organizations including internet service providers, private businesses and critical infrastructure providers. They did not identify victims or provide details on the impact of the attacks.

"When we see malicious cyber activity, whether it be from the Kremlin or other malicious nation-state actors, we are going to push back," said Rob Joyce, the White House cyber security coordinator.

Relations between Russia and Britain were already on edge after Prime Minister Theresa May blamed Moscow for the March 4 nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury.

"This is yet another example of Russia's disregard for international norms and global order - this time through a campaign of cyber espionage and aggression, which attempts to disrupt governments and destabilise business," a British government spokesman said in London.

Britain and the United States said they issued the new alert to help targets protect themselves and persuade victims to share information with government investigators so they can better understand the threat.

"We don't have full insight into the scope of the compromise," said U.S. Department of Homeland Security cyber security official Jeanette Manfra.

The alert is not related to the suspected chemical weapons attack in a town in Syria that prompted a U.S.-led military strike over the weekend targeting facilities of the Russian-backed Syrian government, Joyce said.

Shortly after the announcement, the White House said Joyce would leave his post and return to the U.S. National Security Agency.

U.S. and British officials warned that infected routers could be used to launch future offensive cyber operations.

"They could be pre-positioning for use in times of tension," said Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the British government’s National Cyber Security Centre cyber defense agency, who added that "millions of machines" were targeted.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

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And the Bogeyman award for this whole decade goes to R..

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Moscow spokespersons have about zero credibility with their denials, but have a good command of adjectives.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

And the Bogeyman award for this whole decade goes to R..

A well earned and deserved award at that!

Russia once again shows it's ahead at cyberwarfare. It's got who knows how many hackers working for its numerous police/military agencies.

It's got so many farm/factory employees it can spread them out and have them send messages across a range of social media and online forums, sending out posts aimed at the 'west's' more intellectually vulnerable, alienated, angry and easily convinced populations.

But in Russia's defense, it does make good Matryoshka dolls.

And it's actually done a remarkable job increasing wheat production. In that regard, it's finally recovered from the mistakes made by Stalin.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Moscow spokespersons have about zero credibility with their denials

LOL!!! US / UK politicians deserve this comment very much more. They still produced zero proof of any Russian hacking activity, they lied about gas attacks in Syria (see "Allies vague on evidence linking Syria to chemical attack" article in "World" section), they try desperately to wiggle out of the Scripal poisoning fiasco. Serial liars.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

And our pathetic so-called leader Trump (a true asset of the FSB) will not say or do anything. The strike against Syria (with a pre-warning via Trump) and then the Haley threat of sanctions (rebuffed afterwards) are just two small examples of his true allegiance. Say what you will but I believe every single word James Comey said in his interview about Trump. The Republican Party with the exception of John McCain and a few others for the most part need to all be voted OUT of office as aiders and abettors to the greatest "Benedict Arnold" we have for a President.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Next they will blame China...yawn.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It really wouldn't take much to take down the whole internet.... just if you did so, then most of the hacker's wouldn't really be able to do much afterwards anyway, so they wont go that far. Part of the hack is to not be discovered, until it's too late....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I run a few internet services and multiple servers.

They are under constant attacks, daily, hourly, right now. Most people have no idea how constant the probes are looking for weaknesses and incorrect configurations. On my most popular website, there will be over 20,000 attacks today, easily.

Many will come from China. I started completely blocking Russia and a few other Russian-connected subnets about 10 yrs ago - it just wasn't worth the hassles. But with VPNs, it is easy to launch attacks from locations around the world.

I also block as much of Amazon's EC2 subnets as possible. Those subnets are used by people around the world to get an IP in the USA.

Also have been attacked by subnets owned by American corporations like Microsoft and many others around the Washington D.C. area. I don't think MSFT was attacking me on purpose. I think it was because they'd been hacked and were being used by "bad guys." At this point, I haven't seen any significant attacks from MSFT Azure hosting.

These days, there are really about 5 countries actively hacking others as part of their national security. All the other hacking is for criminal reasons. This 2nd group of attacks often uses botnets from compromised systems and devices around the world.

Stay patched.

Always have at least 30 days of daily, versioned, backups.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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