US companies warned to brace for possible Russian cyberattacks | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

The White House on Friday warned US companies to brace for possible Russian cyberattacks after finding that Kremlin hackers hit Ukrainian targets with a series of recent attacks.

Top cybersecurity official Anne Neuberger pleaded with companies to batten down their digital hatches ahead of possible war between Russian and Ukraine — because US sanctions against Russia may trigger retaliation.

“As many of you know, the government doesn’t own or operate critical infrastructure that provides critical services to our citizens. For example, our water and power systems,” Neuberger said at a White House briefing.

“I cannot stress this enough: We urge our private sector partners to exercise incident response plans and put in place the cybersecurity defenses like encryption and multi-factor authentication that make cyber attacks harder for even sophisticated cyber actors.”

Neuberger, deputy White House national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology, said that Russia is responsible for a series of recent cyberattacks that disrupted Ukrainian websites, including those of banks and government agencies.

Anne Neuberger warned of a cybersecurity attack after Russia reportedly hit Ukraine’s defense ministry and two Ukrainian banks with cyberattacks.
Kevin Larmarque/REUTERS

“Russia likes to move in the shadows and counts on a long process of attribution so it can continue with malicious behavior against Ukraine in cyberspace, including pre-positioning for potential invasion,” she said.

“In light of that, we’re moving quickly to attribute the DDoS attacks. We believe that the Russian government is responsible for wide-scale cyber attacks on Ukrainian banks this week. We have technical information that links the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU — as known GRU infrastructure was seen transmitting high volumes of communication to Ukraine based IP addresses and domains.”

Prior cyberattacks by suspected Russian agents or cybercriminals upended US politics and even everyday life.

A laptop screen displays a warning message in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish, that appeared on the official website of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry after a massive cyberattack.
A laptop screen displays a warning message in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish that appeared on the official website of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry after a massive cyberattack.
Valentyn Ogirenko/REUTERS

The US government said last year that hackers based in Russia shut down the Colonial Pipeline in a ransomware attack, causing gas stations to run dry along the East Coast in May 2021.

Major meat processor JBS Foods also was attacked by suspected Russian hackers last year — as was the operator of ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Russian government hackers allegedly hacked the Democratic National Committee and the email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta during the 2016 presidential election.

Members of the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army clean weaponry
Members of the 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army were sent to Poland as tensions at the Ukrainian-Russian border rose.
Nathan Posner/AP

Russian officials say there’s no invasion of Ukraine in the works, but US officials including President Biden said this week that an invasion could be imminent. The US alleged that Russia moved 7,000 more troops to Ukraine’s border despite claiming a drawback of some of the roughly 150,00 Russian troops nearby.

The crisis is premised on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand that NATO rule out accepting Ukraine as a member, but the military alliance has declined to do so.

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