US, UK Joint Alert Blames Russia for 'Malicious' Cyber Attack

Wednesday, 18 Apr, 2018

Meanwhile, an expert from cyber security company FireEye said that Russian Federation has repeatedly leveraged cyber tools to protect its interests, especially when the country's prestige as a military superpower is threatened.

While the focus of the alert is how individuals and businesses, from the home office to large enterprises, can protect themselves from the attack, the goal was also calling out Russia's bad behavior, officials said.

On March 15, US-CERT issued a similar alert saying the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DHS had determined that Russian government "cyber actors" had sought to infiltrate USA agencies as well as "organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors". It is also the first time that British and American agencies have combined such an announcement with technical advice on countering the threat, aimed at organizations who might be affected.

The cyberwar between the west and Russian Federation has escalated after the United Kingdom and the U.S. issued a joint alert accusing Moscow of mounting a "malicious" internet offensive that appeared to be aimed at espionage, stealing intellectual property and laying the foundation for an attack on infrastructure.

The Australian government joined its British and American allies on Tuesday in blaming Russian Federation for the attacks.

They cited cyber security research organisations and other governments as providing evidence of such attacks, without providing details of their timing or scale. And, while external incidents continue to pose a serious threat, the survey reveals that organisations should not forget about the enemy from within, with two of the top three cyber attacks with the highest frequency and greatest impact being internal attacks and accidentally published information.

"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 techniques used by Russian actors exploit basic weaknesses in network systems.

USA and British officials are expected to release an unprecedented joint technical alert on the malicious Russian activity later Monday.

Anyone who finds signs of the malicious activity described in the joint alert is encouraged to report them to the DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, FBI or NCSC.

The months-long campaign saw hackers attempt to compromise "millions" of devices - including routers, switches, firewalls and network intrusion detection systems - and officials have claimed that the sustained effort could have been used for espionage, the theft of intellectual property or for "use in times of tension".