United States and UK accuse Russian Federation of laying groundwork for massive cyber attack

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"This attempt by Russian Federation is a sharp reminder that Australian businesses and individuals are constantly targeted by malicious state and non-state actors, and we must maintain rigorous cyber security practices".

Cyber security representatives from the USA and Britain have warned of Russian state-sponsored cyber-attacks that are targeting network infrastructure devices such as routers and firewalls, to compromise government and private sectors globally.

The targets number in the millions, officials say, and include "primarily government and private-sector organisations, critical infrastructure providers, and the internet service providers (ISPs) supporting these sectors".

"Specifically, these cyber-exploits were directed at network infrastructure devices worldwide such as routers, switches, firewalls, network intrusion detection system", the statement by the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the UK's National Cyber Security Centre read.

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Australian network users also reported numerous threats to their companies; a year ago, their servers succumbed to a malicious software.

"We are pushing back and we're pushing back hard", said Rob Joyce, White House special assistant to the president and cybersecurity director.

"Russian government activities continue to threaten our respective safety, security and the very integrity of our cyber ecosystem", said Jeanette Manfra, the UK National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications.

Rob Joyce, the White House cyber-security coordinator has issued a range of actions including sanctions and indictments upon Russian Federation. Most traffic within a company or between organisations traverses them. "The NCSC is leading the way globally to automate defences at scale to take away some of those basic attacks, thereby allowing us to focus on the most potent threats".

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Mr Hanson said the affected routers were old models that had not been patched with the latest software. "But unlike Russian Federation, we abide by the law, so anything we do would be proportionately done", said one source.

ABC reports Australian, British and U.S. authorities have claimed Russian government-backed hackers have infected "millions of machines" globally as part of an espionage campaign.

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

"Many of the techniques used by Russian Federation exploit basic weaknesses in network systems".

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