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Russia accused of global net hack attacks

From BBC - April 16, 2018

State-sponsored Russian hackers are actively seeking to hijack essential internet hardware, US and UK intelligence agencies say.

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security issued a joint alert warning of a global campaign.

The alert details methods used to take over network equipment.

The attacks could be an attempt by Russia to gain a foothold for use in a future offensive, it said.

Basic weakness

In a press conference about the alert, White House cyber-security co-ordinator Rob Joyce said the US and its allies had "high confidence" that Russia was behind the "broad campaign".

Intelligence gathered by the US and UK suggested that millions of machines directing data around the net were being targeted, he said.

Compromised devices were used to look at data passing through them, added Mr Joyce. Attackers also sought to undermine the firewalls and intrusion detection systems organisations used to spot malicious traffic before it reached users.

Analysis

By Gordon Corera, Security correspondent

It is possible that Russian intrusions may be increasing. 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.

The crucial thing is whether Russia actually employs its offensive capability to actually do something destructive.

So far, there has been relatively little sign of this in the US or UK, although Russia is accused of launching destructive attacks against Ukraine.

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

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