The Next Front Of The Ukraine/Russia War Is Going To Be Cyberspace

A swath of major American businesses — from major banks to utility companies — are preparing for possible cyberattacks against their computer networks as Russia on Thursday threatened “consequences” for nations that interfere with its invasion of Ukraine. 

Their concerns, echoed in C-suites and around Washington, follow recent warnings from the Biden administration that U.S. firms should harden their defenses against potential cyberattacks that could disrupt the nation’s critical infrastructure. American officials say there are no current threats against the U.S. But they have nonetheless urged organizations to plan for worst-case scenarios and more aggressively monitor their computer networks for possible intrusions. 

“Right now, everybody needs to be at a heightened alert in the event this continues to escalate, and Russia tries to sway political opinion by causing damage in the United States and its Western allies,” said David Kennedy, the chief executive officer of security firm TrustedSec. He said companies should be going through their computer infrastructure “with a fine-tooth comb” to ensure previous intrusions can’t be used to cause future, more damaging, attacks. Major U.S. banks, for instance, fear aggressive cyberattacks if Washington imposes deeper financial sanctions on Russia, said two banking executives who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. CEOs of major financial firms and their cybersecurity experts recently met with Treasury officials as Russian threats of war intensified, according to the executives.

Related to the above, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the government of Ukraine is asking for volunteers from the country’s hacker underground to help protect critical infrastructure and conduct cyber spying missions against Russian troops:

As Russian forces attacked cities across Ukraine, requests for volunteers began to appear on hacker forums on Thursday morning, as many residents fled the capital Kyiv. “Ukrainian cybercommunity! It’s time to get involved in the cyber defense of our country,” the post read, asking hackers and cybersecurity experts to submit an application via Google docs, listing their specialties, such as malware development, and professional references. Yegor Aushev, co-founder of a cybersecurity company in Kyiv, told Reuters he wrote the post at the request of a senior Defense Ministry official who contacted him on Thursday. Aushev’s firm Cyber Unit Technologies is known for working with Ukraine’s government on the defense of critical infrastructure. Another person directly involved in the effort confirmed that the request came from the Defense Ministry on Thursday morning.

Thus this conflict is about to get wider in scope. And it will be interesting to see if there’s actual nation state cyberattacks from countries like the UK or the US. After all, one could say that if Russia does this sort of thing, those countries have every right to retaliate.

One Response to “The Next Front Of The Ukraine/Russia War Is Going To Be Cyberspace”

  1. […] comes after calls for Ukraine based hackers to attack Russian IT infrastructure. And joining the fight is the hacker collective Anonymous who have called for attacks on […]

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