UK businesses urged to prepare for Russian state cyberattacks

Large British organizations and businesses should prepare for possible Russian state-backed cyberattacks, a top security official warned on Friday, citing recent attacks. of dozens of official Ukrainian websites.

Scores of Ukrainian government computer networks affected by Cyber ​​attack Last week, a message popped up on a Ukrainian computer screen: “fear and wait for the worst.” The United States and NATO condemned the attack, which Ukrainian officials suspect was from Moscow.

Paul Chichester, director of operations at the National Cyber ​​Security Center, called for vigilance and said it was important for organizations to follow [cyber security] instructions to ensure they are resilient. ”

He added: “For several years, we have observed patterns of malicious behavior by Russians in cyberspace. Last week’s incidents in Ukraine bear the hallmarks of similar Russian activity that we have observed before.”

The NCSC, the defense arm of Britain’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ, said that while Britain had not blamed the recent cyber incidents in Ukraine, it was “urgently investigating” them. It has yet to identify any active Ukraine-related threats against British organisations.

It points out that the NotPetya virus attack in 2017 was estimated to have cost companies worldwide more than $1.2 billion. The UK blamed that attack on Russia.

The British warning is similar one from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Administration and the FBI this month about possible cyberattacks from Russia on critical infrastructure.

Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was hacked on January 19, the same day that the country’s top cyber agency warned of potential Russian attacks.

Analysts say Russia’s cyberattacks could be aimed at increasing the political costs for the United States and its NATO allies in response to a potential invasion of Ukraine, where 106,000 Russian troops have massed at the border.

Steve Barclay, UK Cabinet Office Secretary, this week warned that UK public services are at risk of being shut down by hostile cyber threats. The UK has taken an aggressive approach towards the Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of Russia’s plans for a “lightning war”, while over the weekend the UK said have proof that Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to install a puppet regime in Kyiv.

The UK has sent 30 experts to Ukraine to train its armed forces to use 2,000 short-range anti-tank missiles supplied by the UK.

Moscow has repeatedly denied that it has an invasion plan, and senior Russian officials have blamed the West for escalating tensions by deploying forces and publishing “fake” statements about the Russian regime change in Ukraine.

To protect themselves from the risk of cyberattacks related to Ukraine, NCSC encourage that enterprises and large organizations have patched their systems, checked data backups, and performed good “network cleaning”.

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