A British government spokesman called the global campaign of cyberespionage "yet another example of Russia's disregard for worldwide norms and global order".
The alert said the targets of the campaign were primarily "government and private-sector organizations, critical infrastructure providers, and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) supporting these sectors".
The announcement came in an unprecedented joint alert that underscored closer cooperation between Western governments fighting what they say is an ongoing, multifaceted hacking and online disinformation campaign by Moscow.
"We don't have full insight into the scope of the compromise", said Jeanette Manfra, a cybersecurity official for the DHS. Rather, it is part of a broader ongoing effort by the United States government to call out bad behaviour in cyberspace and impose costs as a deterrent. For owners, they're asked to ensure network devices are up-to-date, change default passwords, and ensure the firmware on the device is from a trusted source.
Monday's announcement is the latest in a series of related moves by the Trump administration, which in recent months has publicly blamed Russian Federation for launching the NotPetya worm that has been characterised as the costliest and most destructive cyberattack in history. The Pentagon reported a 2,000 per cent surge in activity by Russian "troll" accounts.
The west is accusing Russian Federation of an espionage-driven malicious cyberoffensive, and the Technical Alert - which comes following a joint effort between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) - warns that both governmental and residential hardware is being targeted to "potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations".
The operation was "to support espionage, extract intellectual property, maintain persistent access to victim networks and potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations", Washington and London said in a joint statement.
HIJACKED "millions" of network devices worldwide in an effort to "conduct espionage and intellectual property theft", United Kingdom and U.S. officials warned on Monday. And they're usually not secured at the same level as a network server.
"The activity highlighted today is part of a repeated pattern of disruptive and harmful malicious cyber action carried out by the Russian government", Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy assistant director Howard Marshall said in a statement online.
Compromised networking equipment were used to look at data passing through them, he also said.
According to the alert, systems that have been affected include Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) enabled devices, Cisco Smart Install (SMI) enabled devices, and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) enabled network devices.