USA and United Kingdom blame Russian Federation for 'malicious' cyber-offensive

Yulia Skripal with the family's beloved cat Nash van Drake

Yulia Skripal with the family's beloved cat Nash van Drake

"Grizzly Steppe": The US Department of Homeland Security separately said the attack was part of a larger Russian-backed operation called "Grizzly Steppe".

The US and Britain warned on Monday of Russian government-sponsored cyber-attack against internet network infrastructure around the world. Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency had already warned that Russian Federation was using its cyber capabilities to target democracies.

Military officials have long anxious that the first strike in any "kinetic" war (in which things are actually blown up) could very likely be a cyber strike, knocking out a nation's infrastructure and making it more hard for the nation to strike back against missiles and other hostile actions.

"We don't know what the latest accusations are based on", he was cited as saying by the state-run TASS news agency.

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"When we see malicious cyber activity, whether it be from the Kremlin or other malicious nation-state actors, we are going to push back", White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce said.

Martin said authorities have been tracking the campaign for about a year and the tactics behind them for longer.

"We hold the Kremlin responsible", said Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security.

Earlier this month, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warned it would use its collective defence mechanism for only the second time if it were hit by a devastating cyber attack.

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The US and United Kingdom said they had "high confidence" that the Kremlin was behind the attack. Another added, "They're more likely to revert to targeted information and try and cause as much embarrassment and chaos as possible". So a hacker can monitor, modify or disrupt it, she said. "Once you own the router, you own the traffic that is traversing the router".

The agencies, which include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, do not know precisely how many routers, firewalls and switches have been compromised and to what extent.

An investigation into the global "mass hacking" began three years ago after cybersecurity workers and allies informed the USA government that "large numbers" of enterprise and residential routers worldwide had been hacked by an unknown entity.

Network device vendors, ISPs, public sector organisations, private sector corporations and small office and home office customers should read the alert (TA18-106A - and act on the recommended mitigation strategies.

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Syrian television reported that Syria's air defenses, which are substantial, have responded to the attack. Putin added that the strike had a "destructive influence on the entire system of global relations".

"We had an attack on the Foreign Ministry where we have to assume that it stemmed from Russian Federation", he said.

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