US and UK issue joint alert warning of Russian cyber attacks

London - Russia is using compromised computer network equipment to attack US and British companies and government agencies, the two countries warned in an unprecedented joint alert.

The warning on Monday came from the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Britain’s National Cyber Security Center. It included advice to companies about what they can do to protect themselves and warned specifically of attacks on routers, the devices that channel data around a network.

“Russian state-sponsored actors are using compromised routers to conduct spoofing ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks to support espionage, extract intellectual property, maintain persistent access to victim networks and potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations,” according to a joint statement.

“Multiple sources including private and public-sector cybersecurity research organisations and allies have reported this activity to the US and UK governments.”

US and U.K. relations with Vladimir Putin’s administration are at a low, following the use of nerve agent to poison a former double agent in Britain in March and the US-led bombing of Syria over the weekend. Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency had already warned that Russia was using its cyber capabilities to target democracies.

Over the weekend, the Pentagon said Russian “trolling” activity increased 2 000% in the wake of the Syria strike.

“Russia is our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace,” Ciaran Martin, chief executive officer of Britain’s NCSC, said. “Many of the techniques used by Russia exploit basic weaknesses in network systems.”

* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER


ZAR/USD
16.78
(-0.12)
ZAR/GBP
21.50
(+0.03)
ZAR/EUR
19.73
(+0.01)
ZAR/AUD
12.11
(+0.16)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.16)
Gold
1914.96
(-0.09)
Silver
24.70
(-1.20)
Platinum
888.00
(+0.51)
Brent Crude
42.14
(-3.94)
Palladium
2283.00
(+0.35)
All Share
53319.08
(-2.48)
Top 40
49153.11
(-2.47)
Financial 15
9519.48
(-3.27)
Industrial 25
71014.52
(-2.13)
Resource 10
53931.91
(-2.72)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 1320 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
73% - 8678 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
16% - 1914 votes
Vote