United Kingdom and UK are warning that Russian Federation has been hacking routers worldwide

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The alert also theorized that this type of compromise to hardware might even be used as a foundation for future attacks.

State-sponsored Russian hackers are actively seeking to hijack essential internet hardware, U.S. and United Kingdom intelligence agencies say.

On Monday, the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the UK's National Cyber Security Center jointly issued a technical alert.

This could be used be used to mount a future offensive, it warned.

"We have high confidence that Russian Federation has carried out a coordinated campaign to gain access to enterprise, small office, home office routers known as SOHO routers and residential routers, and the switches and connectors worldwide", said Rob Joyce, special assistant to the President and cybersecurity coordinator at the White House, speaking to journalists.

Though the governments are not sure how many devices have been compromised by the hackers nor what the objective is, the targeting affects millions of devices globally, U.S. officials said on a call with reporters Monday morning. Second, this type of attack strategy lets Russian Federation peer at the data that's passing through compromised devices, whether it's personal of business related.

The crucial thing is whether Russian Federation actually employs its offensive capability to actually do something destructive.

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US Homeland Security has directly condemned the Russian state for the attacks.

What no-one is quite sure of is whether this creates a deterrent a bit like mutually assured nuclear destruction in the Cold War.

The router hacking operation has targeted both government and private sector groups, and the key providers of network infrastructure and internet services serving them.

"When we see malicious cyber-activity, whether Kremlin or other nation state actors, we are going to push back", said Mr Joyce.

Martin said the attacks could be designed for spying, stealing intellectual property or possibly "prepositioning for use in times of heightened tension".

Fergus Hanson, head of cyber security at the Australian Strategic Policy, said Russian Federation could be trying to access control on networks for future attacks. Third, this allows attackers to cripple firewalls and intrusion detection systems that organizations use to glam malicious traffic, according to the BBC. Lastly, the alert outlined what erratic hardware behavior should indicate if a device has been already compromised.

The UK was working with America, its other allies and the technology industry to "expose Russia's unacceptable cyber-behaviour, so they are held accountable for their actions", said Mr Martin.

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