Much to no one’s surprise, Russia has indeed launched attacks on Ukraine. We knew it was coming.
Earlier this week, on the eve of the tanks rolling across the borders, computer networks in Ukraine were targeted by a “data wiping” attack. However, this is actually the second time this has happened. The first was in mid-January as Russia was gearing up for their invasion of Ukraine.
These data-wiping attacks were delivered during fake ransomware attacks and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks as distractions. If you think you are fighting a ransomware or DDoS attack, you may not notice the data-wiping attack going on under the surface. These attacks were primarily against finance and government contractors – a good example of the importance of supply chain security. A secondary target can be the entry point to attack a more hardened primary target. Similarly, as the world is so intricately connected, attacks on Ukraine will pour over into other countries.
The ”Five Eyes” countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US – have all issued warnings within their countries to increase cyber security as the tensions in Ukraine escalated.
In the US, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a notification entitled “Implement Cybersecurity Measures Now to Protect Against Potential Critical Threats”. The document provides steps that organizations should take to strengthen their defenses. (See the link above or go to our “Tip of the Week” for more information.)
Military historians know that the physical domains of war are land, sea, air, and space. However, in recent years cyber has been added as a fifth domain. Though it has been somewhat theoretical, we are clearly seeing now that it is one of the attack vectors Russia is using. What makes it different from traditional kinetic warfare is that it can be launched from far away, can be used to attack civilian infrastructure, and can also be used against allies of one’s enemies.
All organizations must act immediately to protect themselves from cyber attack. Even though the tanks are in Europe, the cyber threat is right here in our own businesses and homes. No shelter can protect you from that.