United Kingdom and USA alert about "malicious cyber activity" by Russian Federation

In a joint statement on Monday (local time), the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the UK's National Cyber Security Centre said the main targets in the alleged tampering of routers and other networking equipment included "government and private-sector organisations", as well as providers of "critical infrastructure" and internet service providers.

In an unprecedented joint alert, the USA and United Kingdom governments warned of the renewed threat of Russian cyber attacks.

The officials said the Kremlin was often utilizing what were known as man-in-the-middle attacks, in which hackers secretly inserted themselves into the exchange of data between a computer or server in order to eavesdrop, collect confidential information, misdirect payments or further compromise security.

Levashov was extradited to the USA and charged with hacking offences accusing him of operating a network of tens of thousands of infected computers used by cyber criminals.

According to the services, the Russian hackers infected equipment form the Cisco brand, among others.

The United States and Britain alleged that Russian agents have planted malware on key components of the internet to spy on rivals, steal trade and potentially launch cyberattacks. In February, they blamed Russian Federation for a cyberattack the previous June that was known by the name NotPetya.

Intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic have released details of malicious cyber activity conducted by the Russian government and aimed at hijacking internet infrastructure.

In a press conference about the alert, White House cyber-security co-ordinator Rob Joyce said the usa and its allies had "high confidence" that Russian Federation was behind the "broad campaign".

The imminent attack was not, however, linked to allied nations' missile strikes on Saturday in Syria, Britain's Press Association (PA) news agency reported, citing White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce.

U.S. and British officials said the infected routers could be leveraged to launch future offensive cyber operations.

"Once you own the router, you own the traffic traversing the router", chief Homeland Security cyber official Jeanette Manfra said, calling it a "fairly broad campaign" that is not targeting any sector in particular.