FBI and GCHQ Warn of Russian Threat to ‘Critical Infrastructure’

Introduction — April 18, 2018

GCHQ: the British government's listening post in Cheltenham. Click to enlarge

GCHQ: the British government’s listening post in Cheltenham. Click to enlarge

The following joint statement needs to be seen in the light of the Skripal’s poisoning and the ongoing conflict in Syria. In other words it is part of a media campaign to demonise Putin and portray Russia as a threat.
The fact that both the FBI and GCHQ have issued a statement suggests that London and Washington have decided on a joint strategy to confront Russia
The authors are at pains to emphasise how Russia is “targeting millions of laptops and phones in UK homes”. So it’s not just the government but millions of ordinary men and women who are at risk. Or so we are led to believe.
Like all propaganda the statement strives to engage the public emotionally on a personal level. Ed.

Putin hacks British homes: Russian cyber agents set to cripple laptops, phones and ‘critical’ infrastructure after secretly accessing millions of computers

Jessica Green, Larisa Brown and Jemma Buckley — Daily Mail April 18, 2018

Russia is targeting millions of laptops and phones in UK homes in preparation for a cyber attack on Britain’s ‘critical infrastructure’, senior security experts revealed.

They added that once access has been gained, Moscow backed agents could hide undiscovered until they decide to attack.

It comes amid reports that Russia is preparing to mount a cyber-strike on Britain’s energy networks, armed forces and emergency services, in retaliation for the Syria air strikes, the GCHQ and FBI have warned.

The government has been probing the cyber-defences to identify vulnerabilities that could ‘potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations’, UK and US authorities revealed in a joint statement.

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, said: ‘They are around trying to seize control over connectivity so, in the case of targeting providers of internet services, it is about gaining access to their customers to try to gain control over the devices to allow them not just to spy on the primary organisation but the organisations they connect to.’

White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce said: ‘Once you own the router, you own all the traffic to include the ability to harvest credentials and passwords and essentially monitor all the traffic.

‘It is a tremendous weapon in the hands of an adversary.’

While Mr Martin said most targeting of the UK had been aimed at government bodies and critical national infrastructure, US officials said everything ‘from large enterprises to small home offices’ could be affected.

Mr Joyce said: ‘When we see malicious cyber activity, whether it be from the Kremlin or other nation-state actors, we are going to push back.’  

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Howard Marshall added: ‘This activity isn’t always to steal information from the network that is targeted in these operations, but sometimes used to facilitate other operations that the Russians can do against high-value targets worldwide.

He continued: ‘We can’t rule out the possibility Russia may intend to use this set of compromises for future offensive cyber operations. 

‘It provides basic infrastructure that they can launch from.’

The chilling warnings came as the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) released a joint statement which said the Kremlin’s possible action ‘threatens our respective safety, security, and economic well-being.’

Continues …

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