Cyberattacks Could Increase as Global Tensions Escalate

 

As NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg condemns Russian aggression on Ukraine as a “brutal act of war”, US stocks fall, and gas and oil prices begin to climb, many Americans are starting to feel the weight of the coming diplomatic and military struggle. 

However, the danger is present to more than just the individuals in the path of the war in Ukraine and to the wallets of those here in the United States. 

As Microsoft reported last year in the annual Digital Defense Report, Russian cyberattacks pose a significant threat to the security and wellbeing of America writ large. 

Already, Ukrainian officials reported a number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks throughout the country, affecting large swaths of Ukrainian business and infrastructure. 

President Joe Biden, and many EU officials, have condemned the attack and are issuing economic sanctions. 

Chris Morgan, a senior cyber threat intelligence analyst at cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows, commented, “It is realistically possible that these sanctions will result in reprisal from either Russian state-associated cyber threat groups or cybercriminal groups influenced by nationalistic drivers.” 

He added that the way in which this retaliation may happen is yet to be seen and is debatable. 

This echoes the concerns of Senator Mark Warner, a senator from Virginia and current chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

Warner remarked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “The two gravest immediate concerns I have is if Russia launches its full cyberattacks further against Ukraine, those cyberattacks, once you unleash them, [they have] no geographic boundary. 

“We’ve already had reports that some of the cyberattacks launched against Ukraine have had results already in Latvia and Lithuania.” 

On February 23, cyber agencies in the United Kingdom and in the United States, including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, issued communiques regarding a new type of malware being implemented by the notorious threat actor Sandworm. 

This threat actor has previously been attributed to the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate’s Russian (GRU’s) Main Centre for Special Technologies (GTsST). 

Speaking to Yahoo! Finance, Logically AI VP of Global Operations Brian Murphy referred to the potential of cyberattacks as a “serious pain point” for the US economy. 

Considering all of this, little doubt is left that escalations with Russia will beckon an increase in cyberattacks and economic damage throughout the United States. 

US businesses and infrastructure services need to prepare immediately. Beyond the politics of war, there is a localized need for businesses of all sizes to defend against threat actors of all kinds. 

As Tigunia Vice President of Information Technology James Nicholas discussed in a business continuity and disaster recovery webinar recently, the consequences of downtime caused by ransomware or cyberattacks is not limited to big business and government agencies. 

These attacks can affect peoples’ paychecks, the ability for children to receive an education, and even the lives of healthcare recipients. As one lawsuit claims, ransomware can literally kill. 

Defending against cyberattacks is not just about economics and national security. It is the ethical and moral response to the knowledge that bad actors exist. There is an obligation to protect workers and community. As if that wasn’t enough, there is also a need to protect your business and your customers. 

If you need a consultation on your current security posture, do not hesitate to contact Tigunia today. 

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