Russian hackers are said to have infected several routers – key elements of the Internet. This could serve to prepare for a major cyberattack, warn the US and Britain. And they suspect: Behind it is the Kremlin.
The US and Britain accuse Russian hackers of attacking key elements of the Internet worldwide. Among other things, it should be about routers that forward data packets in different networks, and about firewalls, which should actually protect against hacker attacks. The British National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security issued a joint statement.
Based on intelligence findings, it details the methods that Russian hackers used to infiltrate network infrastructures. This preparation could suggest an imminent cyberattack, say the experts. The UK and US authorities wanted to release technical details shortly so that the attacks could be detected and countermeasures taken.
“Malicious” cyber activities
Specifically, however, not only Russian hackers are accused, but also the Kremlin: Supported by the government in Moscow groups had infected the router, so the accusation from the US and Britain.
The aim of the cyber attacks is to disrupt the work of other governments and to destabilize business activities, said a spokesman for the British government. He called the attacks another example of Russia’s “disregard of international norms and the global order.” US federal FBI expert Howard Marshall said the new attacks were part of a pattern of “malicious” cyber activities by the Russian government.
The extent of the damage is not yet known, said Jeanette Manfra of the US Department of Homeland Security. However, Ciaran Martin of the British National Cyber Security Center said that “millions of machines” had been targeted. The attacks were observed for more than a year, the underlying tactics is even longer known.
Russian Embassy: “Haltless policy against Russia”
Both the US and the UK say the warning at this juncture should help possible targets of attacks to protect themselves better. Affected are Internet providers, government agencies, companies and infrastructure worldwide. Whether consequences of the attacks are already known or names of compromised networks, Manfra does not say.
Security experts had criticized the US authorities for informing about cyberattacks too late in the past. Maybe the explanation is now a reaction to the criticism. Especially since the US government admits that it does not have all the information.
An official reaction from Moscow to the allegations does not exist yet. The Russian Embassy in London, however, issued a statement calling the West’s allegations against Moscow “blatant examples of a ruthless, provocative and unfounded policy against Russia.”
With information from Torsten Teichmann, ARD Studio Washington
The day’s topics reported on this topic on April 16, 2018 at 22:15.