US and UK warn of cyber attack from Russia

Russian flag is seen on the laptop screen in front of a computer screen on which cyber code is displayed in this illustration

"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", the United Kingdom and U.S. warned.

"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", the British government said in a prepared statement.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Monday. But Russia's embassy in London issued a statement citing British accusations of cyber threats from Moscow as "striking examples of a reckless, provocative and unfounded policy against Russia". Initially aimed at Ukraine, the attack spread through computer networks around the world, doing what the White House said was billions of dollars in damages in the United States, Europe and Asia.

American and British officials said that the attacks disclosed on Monday affected a wide range of organizations including internet service providers, private businesses and critical infrastructure providers.

The so-called "Mirai botnet" attack in 2016 hacked into and hijacked thousands upon thousands of mundane internet-connected devices like cameras and DVRs, using them to "ping" web addresses, sending crushing volumes of web traffic to target servers.

In Washington, both Democrats and Republicans have criticized President Trump for what they say is his reluctance to hold Russian Federation accountable for its hacking of the Democrats during the 2016 presidential election; American intelligence agencies have also blamed the Kremlin for those attacks.

The U.S. and United Kingdom are anxious that the next version of the "Mirai" attack could harness even more devices, and target something more critical than Netflix - like the electrical grid or other crucial infrastructure.

Britain and the USA have also blamed Russian Federation for the poisoning of a former double agent in the United Kingdom, prompting a global diplomatic crisis.

The technical alert was issued by the UK's National Cyber Security Centre, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security.

The alert is not related to the suspected chemical weapons attack in a town in Syria that prompted a US -led military strike over the weekend targeting facilities of the Russian-backed Syrian government, Joyce said.

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