The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Sunday made a public announcement to local governments and infrastructure operators to be prepared for potential cyberattacks launched by the Russian government. The warning was sent after the threat of cyberattacks by Russia as a result of the US or NATO involvement in the current situation in Ukraine.
As reported by CNN, the notice says:
“Russia maintains a range of offensive cyber tools that it could employ against US networks –from low level denial of service to destrictive attacks targeting critical infrastructure.”
DHS said that they have not seen any cyberattacks launched against US critical infrastructure by Russia yet. However, DHS sent a memo to local governments and critical infrastructure operators against potential cyberattacks. According to ABC News, the bulletin said:
“We assess that Russia would consider initiating a cyberattack against the Homeland if it percieved a US or NATO response to a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine threathened its long-term national security.”
As tensions rise in the standoff over Ukraine, the Department of Homeland Security warns that the U.S. response to a possible Russian invasion could result in a cyberattack launched against the U.S. by the Russian government or its proxies. https://t.co/48Jmx7Aty2
— ABC News (@ABC) January 24, 2022
The DHS has shared the information with federal, private, local, and tribal sectors to ensure all infrastructure is safe against such threats. DHS is in contact with multiple government agencies to warn organizations across the US. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has also published multiple advisories warning of cyberattacks after the incidents in Ukraine.
CISA recommends companies should put strong security controls in place against cyber threats. Organizations should disable remote access systems and access points critical to businesses. Cloud services should have multi-factor authentication in place for data security.
“We have increased operational partnerships between private sector companies and the federal government to strengthen our nation’s cyber defenses, including through CISA’s newly established Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC). The JCDC brings these partners together to help us understand the full threat landscape and enable real-time collaboration to empower our private sector partners to gain information and take action against the most significant threats to the nation,” – DHS.
During the past few days, Ukrainian government institutions have suffered from cyberattacks. According to the Digital Transformation Ministry of Ukraine, Russia is behind these attacks.
The US is bracing for similar attacks from Kremlin as Russian soldiers gather around the Ukrainian border. After the news, the Treasury Department held a briefing with big US banks, electric utilities, and the Energy Department regarding the threat from Russian proxies in light of the recent tensions in Ukraine.
President Biden has also threatened reciprocal, united cyberattacks if Russia continues attacking Ukrainian networks and systems.
According to Kevin Breen, director of Immersive Labs, a cyber threat research group, attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and JBS food manufacturer show that cyberattacks can cause a significant impact on the daily lives of people disrupting systems.
“In this fast-paced world of constant cyberattacks and zero-day exploits, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. It’s better to assume you are a target and have strategic plans in place to match that of the adversaries’ capabilities, said Breen.