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US President Joe Biden has warned of ‘a critical moment to accelerate our work to improve domestic cybersecurity and bolster our national resilience’. He went on to refer to ‘evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks’.
In a statement he urged the private sector to strengthen cyber defences immediately. He said: “Most of America’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector and critical infrastructure owners and operators must accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been actively working with organisations across critical infrastructure to rapidly share information and mitigation guidance to help protect their systems and networks.”
For the full statement visit the whitehouse.gov website.
In the UK meanwhile, the official NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) comments that it has been advising organisations to bolster their cyber security due to the heightened risk resulting from Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine. It says the NCSC are unaware of specific, targeted threats to the UK.
John Davis, Director UK & Ireland, SANS Institute, EMEA, a training body, said: “With the mounting cyber threat as war between Ukraine and Russia escalates, and President Biden’s latest warning to businesses about the possibility for cyber attacks to develop as part of the conflict, it’s important that leaders keep their workforces well-informed and aware of the way threats can infiltrate a company.
“Threat actors will be keen to capitalise on the anxiety and fear in this uncertain climate, so prompt and clear communication is a key first step to navigating through these situations safely. To combat a potential salvo of cyber attacks, basic digital hygiene can go a long way in defending against potential Russian threats.
“When using tech, being wary of phishing attempts operating through fake emails and messages is vital. Alongside scam awareness, one of the best methods of protection is regularly updating passwords and ensuring they are unique and long, and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) can also add an extra layer of defence here. Keeping devices and apps updated also helps patch over new vulnerabilities that cyber criminals might be looking to exploit.
“Sharing knowledge and expertise has never been more important. As Russian threat actors look for chinks in the armour, it’s crucial that businesses keep staff educated and well-equipped to keep their devices clean and safe, so that sensitive corporate information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”
See also the blog by Stu Sjouwerman of Knowbe4.