White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce said the United States and its allies had "high confidence" that Russian Federation was behind the campaign.
A British government spokesman called the global campaign of cyberespionage "yet another example of Russia's disregard for worldwide norms and global order".
Russian Federation has not responded to the joint alert.
"Once you own the router, you own the traffic traversing the router", chief Homeland Security cyber official Jeanette Manfra said, calling it a "fairly broad campaign" that is not targeting any sector in particular. Rather, it is part of a broader ongoing effort by the U.S. government to call out bad behaviour in cyberspace and impose costs as a deterrent.
In a statement made by a spokesperson at the Russian Embassy in London, "We consider these accusations and speculations as striking examples of a reckless, provocative and unfounded policy against Russia".
The U.S., United Kingdom and Australia have all accused Russian Federation of being behind the mass hacking of computer networks around the world since 2017. The joint report didn't identity any companies that have been affected, or the number of devices that have already been hacked.
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Globally, this effort had targeted millions of machines to spy on ISP customers, organizations and government agencies.
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.
Alongside these vulnerabilities, there are other factors which make network hardware devices such as routers easy targets for cyberattacks. Most traffic within a company or between organisations traverses them. And they're usually not secured at the same level as a network server.
The agencies, which include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, do not know precisely how many routers, firewalls and switches have been compromised and to what extent.
"It is not necessarily the case that you are trying to steal data all the time, conduct espionage, there are reasons you might want to be inside a network and it could be to conduct an offensive operation at a time of your choosing", he said.
In its alert, DHS described the hackers' techniques, from scanning internet address spaces to exploiting routers, switches and network intrusion-detection devices. It was not clear whether that compromise was part of the same campaign.