FBI disrupts hacking network ‘linked to Russian intelligence services’

US officials say they have disrupted a hacking network linked to Russian intelligence services.

They say the hackers – believed to be from the secretive hacking arm of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (better known as the GRU) – gained access to more than 1,000 personal and small business internet routers in the US and around the world.

The hackers then used the infected devices to launch “harvesting campaigns” against targets of “intelligence interest” to the Russian government, according to the US Justice Department.

However, the department says the campaign was disrupted by US officials, including teams from the FBI, who managed to secretly “neutralize” the network by remotely making changes to the infected routers.

US deputy attorney general, Lisa Monaco, said it was the second time in two months that the department had disrupted state-sponsored hackers from launching cyberattacks behind the cover of compromised routers.

“In this case, Russian intelligence services turned to criminal groups to help them target home and office routers,” US attorney general, Merrick Garland, said in a statement about the operation.

“But the Justice Department disabled their scheme. We will continue to disrupt and dismantle the Russian government’s malicious cyber tools that endanger the security of the United States and our allies.”