West Warns Possible Russian Cyberattacks Could Reverberate Around The World

WASHINGTON — The United States and its Western allies are bracing for the possibility that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could have a ripple effect in cyberspace, even if Western entities are not initially the intended target. “I am absolutely concerned,” US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Thursday at the Munich Cyber ​​Security Conference when asked about the chances of a catastrophic effect of a cyber attack in Ukraine. “It’s not hypothetical,” Monaco said, pointing to the June 2017 NotPetya virus engineered by Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, as an example. The virus initially targeted a Ukrainian accounting website, but then affected companies around the world, including Danish shipping giant Maersk and US-based courier company FedEx. “Companies of any size , of all sizes: it would be foolish if they did not prepare at this time,” Monaco warned. “They need to protect themselves and really be on the highest alert level.” Monaco is not the first high-ranking US official to warn that possible Russian actions in cyberspace could have unexpected repercussions. “We’ve seen this play before,” US National Cyber ​​Director Chris Inglis warned a virtual audience earlier this month. Like Monaco, he alluded to the NotPetya attack: “It broke out of its reservoir, so to speak, and then gutted wide swaths of infrastructure across Europe and the United States.” Officials from the US Department of Homeland Security said that, at this time, there were no specific or credible threats to indicate that an attack like NotPetya is about to be unleashed against the United States. But they said they wouldn’t take any chances and were working closely with Ukraine and other allies, just in case. Russia’s Trail “We’re all working,” Homeland Security Undersecretary Robert Silvers said Thursday at the conference, held virtually this year. “It is no secret that Russia has shown a willingness to use cyber means to achieve its broader geopolitical goals,” Silvers added, pointing to Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s energy grid in 2015. Some US officials worried that the president Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the order to attack countries other than Ukraine as part of any military action against that nation. “I don’t think Ukraine is their target,” said Jaak Tarien, director of NATO’s Cooperative Cyber ​​Defense Center of Excellence in Estonia. “Putin said in 2007 at the Munich Security Conference that he was sick and tired of the existing security architecture and that he wants to change that, and he is still at it,” Tarien said at Thursday’s cybersecurity conference. His goal is “to get US allies to fight each other and disrupt our unity. And cyber is a very, very good way to do that.” U.S. agencies are also concerned that as tensions rise, Russia may be tempted to increase cyber operations. On Wednesday, the Infrastructure Security Agency and US Cybersecurity, the FBI and the National Security Agency issued a joint warning that Kremlin-linked actors could use a variety of techniques to attack US defense contractors. Not all cyber experts they are convinced that Russia will resort to cyberattacks to harm the West, even if the US and its allies make good on their promises to hit Moscow with severe economic sanctions. [ataques] state actors are going to be the first or preferred response mechanism,” Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, told the Munich Cybersecurity Conference. “Russia has enormous influence in the economic sphere, including outside of cyber, to respond through export control measures, for example, on critical materials like aluminum and uranium and titanium and palladium and many other things that will do a lot of damage to the US economy and the global economy,” said. Alperovitch also warned that Russia might be willing to let cybercriminals do the work, perhaps releasing a number of ransomware actors he has arrested in recent weeks. “That would send an unequivocal, even unspoken, message to the Russian cybercrime ecosystem that the season is open for Western organizations,” he said. Connect with the ! Subscribe to our channel Youtube

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