US, UK warn against Russia-sponsored cyber-attacks

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Australia said on Tuesday that up to 400 businesses had been targeted by suspected Russian state-sponsored cyber-attacks in 2017 but that there was no evidence of significant exploitation.

Russian Federation is preparing to mount cyber attacks on Britain's "critical infrastructure" including energy networks, the emergency services and the armed forces, GCHQ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have warned in the wake of the Syria air strikes.

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

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Howard Marshall said the activity is a part of a "repeated pattern of disruptive and harmful cyber action" carried out by Russian Federation. "To say we know where this came from ... and it's unacceptable behaviour".

Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator, set out a range of actions the U.S. could take such as fresh sanctions and indictments as well as retaliating with its own cyber-offensive capabilities. "We can't rule out Russian Federation may attempt to use this [hacked] infrastructure for further attacks".

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"For over twenty years, GCHQ has been tracking the key Russian cyber attack groups and today's joint UK-US alert shows that the threat has not gone away".

Millions of machines had been targeted in a "sustained" campaign and the USA and United Kingdom admitted they still did not know the full extent to which the system had been compromised.

The aim seems to be to "seize control" of the machines that connect networks to the internet, and in the case of internet providers, to gain access to their customers, for espionage or other purposes, he said.

"We hold the Kremlin responsible", said Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security. Another added, "They're more likely to revert to targeted information and try and cause as much embarrassment and chaos as possible". And they're usually not secured at the same level as a network server. They are seeking the cooperation of home office and private-sector business owners in sharing information if they determine their networks have been compromised.

Specifically, these cyber exploits are directed at network infrastructure devices worldwide such as routers, switches, firewalls, and the Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS). It was not clear whether that compromise was part of the same campaign.