The U.S .and the U.K. issued a vague but ominous joint statement Monday charging that Russia had in recent days ramped up its cyberattacks on American and British companies and government operations.
Russia was using compromised computer network equipment to launch the attacks, the countries warned in what Bloomberg called an unprecedented joint alert.
The warning came from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and Britain’s National Cyber Security Center, and included advice about what companies can do to protect themselves.
The statement also warned about 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 organizations and allies have reported this activity to the U.S. and U.K. governments.”
America’s and Britain’s relations with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin worsened following the strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities Friday night and the use of nerve agent to poison a former double agent in Britain.
Over the weekend, the Pentagon said Russian “trolling” activity increased 2,000 percent in the wake of the Syria strike — but neither country identified any of the specific targets of the attacks.
“Russia is our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace,” said Ciaran Martin, chief executive officer of Britain’s NCSC.
“Many of the techniques used by Russia exploit basic weaknesses in network systems.”