Russia targeting MILLIONS of UK computers for major cyber attack, top spooks warn

RUSSIA has infiltrated thousands of British computer networks for cyber attacks, GCHQ and the FBI warned.

Spooks warned Russia had targeted millions of US and UK computers to pave way for a major cyber attack

In an unprecedented move, the two trans-Atlantic intelligence agencies also issued urgent advice for the compromised to protect themselves.

Under the massive assault, lurking Moscow hackers have infiltrated the routers to use them for “man-in-the-middle” attacks as a springboard to penetrate other targets, such as the national grid or the NHS.

As well cyber attacks, the hackers are also trying to spy as well as steal intellectual property.

The British warning came from the eavesdropping spy agency GCHQ’s public protection wing, the National Cyber Security Centre.

Theresa May reinforced the threat Russia poses to the UK while talking in the Commons

Its director’s Ciaran Martin dubbed the joint statement a “significant moment in the transatlantic fightback against Russian aggression in cyber security”.

Mr Martin added: “We have been tracking some of these attacks for around a year and the attack groups behind them for longer than that.

“In terms of the scale, there are millions of machines that have been globally targeted.

“It’s about trying to gain control over the devices to allow them not just to spy on the primary organisation but the organisations they connect to.”

Spooks warned organisations and the public to keep their computers as secure as possible amid fears Putin could launch a revenge attack over the West’s involvement in Syria

The FBI’s Deputy Assistant Director Howard Marshall added: “Today we are asking the public to continue their engagement by better understanding these vulnerabilities.

“We will continue to follow the actions of our Russian adversaries and we will bring every tool to bear against them in every corner of cyber space.”

Advice to firms and organisations includes updating passwords for routers and not relying on manufacturers’ settings.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, said ‘we’ve been tracking some attacks for a year and the groups behind them longer’


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Theresa May reinforced the warnings. The PM told the Commons: “Everybody should think very carefully about the role Russia is playing, not just in Syria but also destabilising activities, propaganda, cyber attacks”.

A Government spokesperson added: “This is yet another example of Russia’s disregard for international norms and global order – this time through a campaign of cyber espionage and aggression, which attempts to disrupt governments and de-stabilise business.

“The attribution of this malicious activity sends a clear message to Russia – we know what you are doing and you will not succeed.

“This Government will stand steadfast alongside its allies to counter this threat and our world-leading experts at the National Cyber Security Centre will continue to strengthen our cyber security capabilities and protect UK interests.”

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