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Five Eyes nations warn against impending Russian cyber attacks

Eight hacking groups have reportedly pledged allegiance to the Russian government, according to latest findings from the US, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and UK cyber authorities

Members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance have issued a new advisory that warns against impending cyber attacks launched by Russian-aligned hacking groups.

These include the CoomingProject, Killnet, Mummy Spider, Salty Spider, Scully Spider, Smokey Spider, Wizard Spider, and the Xaknet Team.

All eight groups have reportedly pledged allegiance to the Russian government, according to latest findings from the US, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and UK cyber authorities.

Critical infrastructure and government organisations are especially expected to be at risk, with the hacking groups likely seeking the guarantee of their ransom demands being paid to resume operations.

The attacks, which could involve destructive malware, ransomware, DDoS, and cyber espionage, are likely to be launched “in retaliation for perceived cyber offensives against the Russian government or the Russian people”, according to the Five Eyes advisory published on Wednesday.

Several US tech giants, most notably Microsoft, have been engaged in thwarting cyber attacks orchestrated by the Russian-backed hacking groups. However, members of the Anonymous collective have gone a step further in conducting cyber offensives against the Russian state by hacking the website of the Russian Space Research Institute as well as hijacking Russian broadcasters to show war footage from inside Ukraine.

The Five Eyes advisory also renewed warnings against operations conducted by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), including the 85th Main Special Service Centre (GTsSS) and Main Centre for Special Technologies (GTsST), as well as the Russian Ministry of Defence.

In February, GRU was accused of targeting Ukraine’s largest commercial bank as well as the State Savings Bank of Ukraine.

Commenting on the latest advisory, NCSC CEO Lindy Cameron urged organisations to “accelerate plans to raise their overall cyber resilience, particularly those defending our most critical assets”.

“In this period of heightened cyber threat, it has never been more important to plan and invest in longer-lasting security measures,” she said, adding that the NCSC “continues to collaborate with [its] international and law enforcement partners to provide organisations with timely actionable advice to give them the best chance of preventing cyber attacks, wherever they come from”.

The NCSC is one of the eight agencies involved in Five Eyes, alongside the UK National Crime Agency (NCA), CISA, NSA, FBI, ACSC, CCCS, as well as the New Zealand NCSC.

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