Hacked devices ranged from small home routers to ISP-grade routers and firewalls, with attackers trying to hoard as many systems as possible.
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"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.
Russian Federation has not responded to the joint alert.More news: OPCW continuing mission into alleged Douma gas attack despite air strikes
The warning is unrelated to the administration's recent military strikes on suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria, action Russian Federation condemned.
"When we see malicious cyber activity, whether it be from the Kremlin or other malicious actors, we're going to push back", Joyce said.
Previously the two nations have spoken only of attacks "originating from Russia", with lines between Russian criminals and state activity being blurred, but they pinned blame on the Kremlin on this occasion.More news: Domino's Will Now Deliver Your Pizza To The Beach
The west is accusing Russian Federation of an espionage-driven malicious cyberoffensive, and the Technical Alert - which comes following a joint effort between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) - warns that both governmental and residential hardware is being targeted to "potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations".
For owners, they're asked to ensure network devices are up-to-date, change default passwords, and ensure the firmware on the device is from a trusted source. "Most or all organizational and customer traffic must traverse these critical devices".
Worryingly, the style of attack detected means hackers have permanent access to the networks they have infiltrated.
The agencies, which include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, do not know precisely how many routers, firewalls and switches have been compromised and to what extent. The government's cybersecurity office has contacted the said businesses to alert them. "Many of the techniques used by Russian Federation exploit basic weaknesses in network systems".More news: Ian Somerhalder starring in new vampire series
"It provides basic infrastructure that they can launch from", one top USA official said. It was not clear Monday whether that compromise was part of the same campaign.