US, UK agencies warn of Russian hackers using ‘brute force’ to target hundreds of groups

A group of top agencies in the United States and United Kingdom on Thursday warned of an ongoing campaign by Russian government-backed hackers using “brute force” hacking techniques to target hundreds of organizations around the world.

The FBI, the National Security Agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre issued a joint advisory outlining the hacking campaign, ongoing since 2019 and carried out by the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).

The GRU, an advanced persistent threat organization, has used what the agencies described as “brute force access attempts” against the targeted organizations over the past two years.

The hundreds of organizations targeted include government and military agencies, political groups, think tanks, defense contractors, energy companies, logistics companies, media outlets, law firms and higher education institutions.

The new advisory was issued on the heels of escalating cyberattacks on critical U.S. organizations either linked to the Russian government or to Russian-speaking cyber criminals likely being harbored by the nation, raising U.S.-Russian tensions.