Australians caught up in worldwide cyber attacks blamed on Russia

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The US and Britain warned on Monday of Russian government-sponsored cyber-attack against internet network infrastructure around the world.

The goal of the announcement Monday was to warn corporations and individuals to protect themselves against attacks.

Washington and London issued a joint alert saying the campaign by Russian government-backed hackers was meant to advance spying, intellectual property theft and other "malicious" activities and could be escalated to launch offensive attacks.

In a joint call with reporters White House cybersecurity coordinator Roby Joyce said: "When we see malicious cyber activity, whether it be from the Kremlin or other malicious nation-state actors, we are going to push back".

These network devices make "ideal targets", said Manfra, Homeland Security's assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications.

The attacks have targeted millions of computer networks worldwide through equipment such as routers, switches and firewalls, according to the officials from the White House, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and counterparts in Britain.

Australia said on Tuesday that up to 400 businesses had been targeted by suspected Russian state-sponsored cyber-attacks in 2017 but that there was no evidence of significant exploitation.

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The Pentagon has said Russian "trolling" activity increased 2,000 percent after the Syria strike.

Director Howard Marshall said the alert underscores the United States' commitment to fighting malicious cyber activity.

The White House in February blamed Russian Federation for the devastating "NotPetya" cyber attack in 2017, joining the British Government in condemning Russian Federation for unleashing a virus that crippled parts of Ukraine's infrastructure and damaged computers across the globe. "The NCSC is leading the way globally to automate defences at scale to take away some of those basic attacks, thereby allowing us to focus on the most potent threats".

"The UK government will continue to work with the U.S., other worldwide allies and industry partners to expose Russia's unacceptable cyber behaviour, so they are held accountable for their actions", Ciaran Martin, CEO of the UK's National Cyber Security Centre said.

USA and British officials said the infected routers could be used to launch future offensive cyber operations.

He said it was now possible to identify the culprits behind many attacks, including state actors like Russian Federation.

"It is fairly widespread and can cover everything from large enterprises to small home offices", Manfra said.