With Moscow amassing its military forces on the Ukrainian border, UK firms and organizations were warned to strengthen their defenses against potential Russian cyberattacks.
According to the National Cyber Security Centre of the United Kingdom, recent attacks are “similar to a pattern of Russian behavior seen before in other situations,” and corporations have been urged to take action “in response to the harmful cyber occurrences in and around Ukraine.”
“While we are unaware of any specific cyber threats to UK organizations in relation to events in Ukraine, we are monitoring the situation closely and it is vital that organizations follow the guidelines to ensure they are resilient,” said director of operations Paul Chichester.
The National Cyber Security Centre is a division of GCHQ, the United Kingdom’s signals intelligence organization.
According to the National Cyber Security Centre, UK firms should patch their computer systems and enable multi-factor authentication to defend themselves from future threats. They should also make sure that internet defenses are functioning properly and that they are up to date on the most recent threat and mitigation information.
The suggestions are mostly focused on larger businesses.
Earlier this month, a cyberattack targeted dozens of Ukrainian government websites, including letters urging Ukrainians to “be afraid and wait for the worst” and claiming their personal information had been hacked.
The strike was most likely carried out by Russia, according to Ukraine.
The crisis in Ukraine, which began when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, has seen a recurrence of cyber activities.
In 2015 and 2016, suspected Russian hackers disrupted power in portions of Ukraine, and in 2017, they released the destructive NotPetya malware, which began attacking companies in Ukraine but quickly spread around the world, causing billions of dollars in damage. The events were blamed on Russia’s GRU military intelligence organization, according to the US Justice Department.
“Over several years, we have observed a pattern of malicious Russian behavior in cyberspace. Last week’s incidents in Ukraine bear the hallmarks of similar Russian activity we have observed before,” Chichester said on Friday.
As Russia amasses forces on its border with Ukraine, the US is also on the lookout for potential cyberattacks. Russia denies that an invasion is in the works.
According to a January 23 Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin cited in the media, Russia may consider launching a cyberattack on the US if it believed a US or NATO reaction to a hypothetical Russian invasion of Ukraine “threatened [Russia’s] long-term national security.”
“Russia maintains a range of offensive cyber tools that it could employ against US networks — from low-level denials-of-service to destructive attacks targeting critical infrastructure,” said the memo, which was distributed to critical infrastructure operators and state and local governments.
Should Russia launch future cyberattacks in Ukraine, President Joe Biden stated at a recent news conference that the US might respond with its own cyber operations.
(Adapted from CNN.com)