The alert also theorized that this type of compromise to hardware might even be used as a foundation for future attacks.
In a joint statement, the British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Department of Homeland Security warned that a global hacking campaign by the Kremlin had already started.
The technical alert said the U.S. government had been receiving information that the cyber actors had been exploiting switches - named by the ACSC as "switches with Cisco Smart Install accessible from the internet, and routers or switches with Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) enabled and exposed to the internet" - since 2015. Though the governments are not sure how many devices have been compromised by the hackers nor what the objective is, the targeting affects millions of devices globally, officials said on a call with reporters Monday morning. Second, this type of attack strategy lets Russian Federation peer at the data that's passing through compromised devices, whether it's personal of business related.
US Homeland Security has directly condemned the Russian state for the attacks.
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In addition, Mr Joyce said, many different organisation had come under attacks for months at a time in a bid to scoop up valuable intellectual property, business information or to get at their customers.
"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", Taylor said.
Ciaran Martin, head of the UK's NCSC, said the issuing of the alert marked a "significant moment" as the two powers had never before given joint advice on how to deal with attacks.
According to Martin, numerous techniques used by Russian Federation, "exploit basic weaknesses in network systems".
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The principal targets of the global campaign were internet service providers, firms running critical infrastructure, government departments and large companies, the alert stated. Lastly, the alert outlined what erratic hardware behavior should indicate if a device has been already compromised.
Mr Martin said GCHQ, NCSC's parent organisation, had tracked the threat posed by Russian cyber-gangs for more than 20 years.
"The UK government will continue to work with the USA, other worldwide allies and industry partners to expose Russia's unacceptable cyber behaviour, so they are held accountable for their actions", Martin added.
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