'The Russian hacker threat is becoming increasingly organized'

Russian hackers are apparently engaged in an offensive to take over the back of the Western Internet. Internet routers and data switches are taken over by the Russians in order to be able to watch in large amounts of traffic. The British National Cyber Security Center and the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team announced this together something that does not occur often. The threat is therefore real.

But how? This is possible, among other things, because router maker Cisco had a vulnerability in software that makes it possible to access routers remotely. Handy for engineers, who can configure such physically unavailable servers anyway. Because of that vulnerability, which has been known for a while, hackers can also use those servers and if you can do that in data centers (where there is a lot of Cisco) you can suddenly monitor a lot of internet traffic. Nobody is more angry about this than Cisco, who has long been warned network managers after the vulnerability came to light.

State-sponsored

But people forget things, do not think it is very important or just do not get it. This kind of far-from-my-problems are often put at the end of the list and so there is much open. Again, this is not the only way the Russians come in according to the whistleblowers, but it is a simple one.

The NCSC is already aware of a number of telecom and internet providers where the routers are infected, in some cases even that the hackers control the devices. That this is happening is nothing new, but that the whole thing is called ‘state-sponsored’ from Russia is one thing. And if that kind of service talks about ‘millions’ of devices that have been hacked, it starts to get scary.

Can I do something?

What does that mean? If your communication is encrypted, no one can see what is going through your routers, but many people (and especially companies and governments) often use outdated equipment that is not safe. By placing more and more tentacles in the networks, according to the FBI, a foundation is laid for future attacks.

And those attacks could well be of the DDoS variant whereby websites or even entire parts of the network are shut down. If the Russians have as much access to routers as the intelligence services say, they can make a huge attack – from our home. Hopefully, this announcement will in any case shake up the professional network managers and the leaks will be closed, because at home we can not do much or nothing at all.

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