Further, the cyber-exploits were directed at network infrastructure devices worldwide such as routers, switches, firewalls, network intrusion detection system. The announcement has come amid heightened tensions between the two countries and Russian Federation.
In February, the British foreign office officially put on the Russian government responsible for a massive cyber attack using a virus-the extortioner NotPetya that they gave in June a year ago, hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.
The likely targets would be internet service providers, governments, the private sector and critical infrastructure, according to a joint statement from the British National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Homeland Security. They did not identify victims or provide details on the impact of the attacks. The US and Britain said they wanted to warn organizations they may be affected and call on them to inform authorities if they discover breaches. But Russia's embassy in London issued a statement citing British accusations of cyber threats from Moscow as "striking examples of a reckless, provocative and unfounded policy against Russia". It has previously dismissed allegations it was responsible for cyber attacks against the USA and other countries, including meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and attacks against the United States power grid.
Russian Federation was threatening the U.S. and Britain's safety and security, the two countries said in their joint statement. The United States, Britain and other nations in February accused Russian Federation of releasing the "NotPetya" virus, which in 2017 crippled parts of Ukraine's infrastructure and damaged computers across the globe, costing companies billions of dollars.
This is just the latest in a serious of escalating confrontations between Western Allies and Russian Federation, with both US President Trump and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently stating that relations between the superpowers are worse than during the height of the Cold War.
As tensions remain high over Russia's involvement in Syria, its alleged tampering in the 2016 USA election and the poisoning of a former Russian spy, the United Kingdom and U.S. say that Russia will be held accountable for the cyber-attacks.
"They could be pre-positioning for use in times of tension", said Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the British government's National Cyber Security Centre cyber defense agency, who added that "millions of machines" were targeted.