The United States and Britain today accused Russia of launching a new wave of internet-based attacks targeting routers, firewalls and other computer networking equipment used by government agencies, businesses and critical infrastructure operators around the globe.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC, which is GCHQ's 'cyber' division) today said that hackers supported by Russia are gearing up for a series of digital attacks.
"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-stabilize business," a British government spokesman said.
"The attribution of this malicious activity sends a clear message to Russia – we know what you are doing and you will not succeed."
The U.K. press response:
Targeting national infrastructure could bring the UK "to a standstill", reports the Express. The paper says President Putin's hitlist includes airports, rail networks, hospitals, power supplies and banks. He will combine this with a "fake news" campaign, it adds.
The attack is "imminent", says the Mirror, and could target politicians as hackers seek to release "embarrassing" information about them. It also carries a warning by the Russians that the strikes were an "act of aggression" and that further military interference could disrupt world peace.
The Mail says there's been a 2,000% increase in the number of Russian social media accounts spreading Kremlin "propaganda" in the hours after the strikes. It also adds intelligence officers at GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence are on standby to hit back if the Kremlin wages digital warfare.
The Kremlin has not commented.
Russia's embassy in London issued a statement citing British accusations of cyber threats from Moscow as "striking examples of a reckless, provocative and unfounded policy against Russia."