PSA: The Russians Are Hacking Everything, Laying the Groundwork for Future Attacks

TMO's Dramatic Reenactment of a Typical Russian Hacker

Hey look, another day, another warning that the Russians are hacking everyone. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, the FBI, and the White House jointly announced that Russian hackers are laying the groundwork for future cyber attacks and spying on Western governments.

The attackers are described as “Russian, state-sponsored cyber actors” who are going after routers, switches, firewalls, and Network-based Intrusion Detection System (NIDS) devices.

TMO's Dramatic Reenactment of a Typical Russian Hacker
TMO’s Dramatic Reenactment of a Typical Russian Hacker

DHS Technical Alert

According to the DHS’s Technical Alert (TA), “Targets are primarily government and private-sector organizations, critical infrastructure providers, and the Internet service providers (ISPs) supporting these sectors.”

The TA also said that the, “FBI has high confidence that Russian state-sponsored cyber actors are using compromised routers to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks to support espionage, extract intellectual property, maintain persistent access to victim networks, and potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations.”

The Times of London said that the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre said that the attacks have given President Vadimir Putin a “tremendous weapon.”

So if you’re responsible for telecommunications infrastructure equipment, do your jobs, please, and harden these devices! The Russians are coming.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Bryan: Many thanks for this PSA, although I fear you may be doing little more than shouting into the wind. On a desert island. In the middle of the Pacific. Russia (and China) have taken geopolitics to a whole new level, not least of which involves state-level investment in cyber warfare. And make no mistake, it is warfare that is being waged. And like all warfare, it is not about mere hijinks to stir up mischief and cause inconvenience. This about domination. At the very least for Russia, it’s about creating a world in which the USA and her allies… Read more »


I still don’t understand how the FBI, MI5 etc doesn’t get this scenario – a hostile power quietly works away to compromise millions of devices and accounts, and then one day, when a critical mass has been achieved – BANG! The financial system crashes, all the money has gone, we start tearing each other apart just to get food and energy. I mean, c’mon – look how people were ready to kill in France just to get their hands on discounted Nutella! Meanwhile I was called in the other day to update a company’s website – to access the site… Read more »


Russia has already done test operations against the Republic of Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic States. They are experienced with this sort of thing. When they pull the trigger I expect all sorts of things will roll mover and die. Sadly, most people, even most business owners are oblivious to system and network security. . I was at a Doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago. The receptionist and another staff person were having a loud conversation because one of them was having trouble logging into the offic’s email account. Listening in on the conversation I got the e-mail address,… Read more »