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United States and Britain accuse Russia of global cyber attack

(Reuters) – The United States and Britain warned on Monday of a global cyber attack targeting routers and other network equipment, blaming hackers backed by the Russian government for the campaign against government agencies, companies and operators. critical infrastructures.

A man poses inside a server room in an IT company in this illustration photo of June 19, 2017. REUTERS / Athit Perawongmetha / Illustration

Washington and London issued a joint alert, saying that the broad Global campaign started in 2015 and could intensify to launch offensive attacks.

The alert comes two months after the United States and Britain accused Russia of carrying out the damaging cyberattack "NotPetya" in 2017 that unleashed a virus that paralyzed parts of Ukraine's infrastructure and damaged computers across the world.

US and British officials said the attacks affected a wide range of organizations, including Internet service providers, private companies and critical infrastructure providers. They did not identify any victims or provide details about the impact of the attacks.

"When we see malicious cyber activity, whether from the Kremlin or other malicious actors of the nation-state, we're going to back off," said Rob Joyce, the White House's cyber security coordinator.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comments late on Monday. Moscow has denied previous accusations that it carried out cyber attacks against the United States and other countries.

U.S. Last year, intelligence agencies accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 elections with a campaign of piracy and propaganda to support Donald Trump's campaign as president. Last month, the Trump administration blamed Russia for a cyberattack campaign that dates back at least two years to the US grid. UU

Britain and the United States said they issued the alert to help the targets protect themselves and persuade victims to share information with government investigators so they can better understand the threat.

"We do not have a complete idea of ​​the scope of the engagement," said Jeanette Manfra, a cybersecurity officer with the US Department of Homeland Security. UU

The alert is not related to the alleged attack with chemical weapons in a city of Syria that provoked a military attack led by the USA. UU The weekend against the facilities of the Syrian government backed by Russia, Joyce said.

U.S. and British officials warned that infected routers could be used to launch future offensive cyber operations.

"They could be prepositions to use in times of tension," said Ciaran Martin, executive director of the cyber defense agency of the National Cyber ​​Security Center of the British government, adding that "millions of machines" were attacked.

Some experts in cybersecurity from the private sector have criticized the US government. UU For being too slow to publish information about cyber attacks. Monday's announcement seems to reflect the desire to publicize a threat quickly and widely even before officials fully understand its breadth.

A senior US official UU., Which spoke on condition of anonymity, said there had been a steady increase in Russian cyber attacks in recent years.

"It is harder to follow, attribute and immediately respond to a cyber attack … than to know who fired a missile," said the official.

Report of Jim Finkle and Doina Chiacu; Additional reports by John Walcott and Makini Brice in Washington and Jack Stubbs in Moscow; Edition by James Dalgleish

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