Cyberattacks on government agencies and businesses have increased due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The risk of spillover attacks against non-primary targets is becoming more widespread. Potential targets include critical infrastructures, such as governments, financial services, and utilities. Heightened risks exist for issuers that conduct business in these countries.
Ukraine’s government is looking for IT experts who can defend against Russian cyberattacks and prepare their own attacks on critical Russian IT infrastructure. Digital attacks have a tangible impact on the war. The website of various Ukrainian government departments and banks, including the foreign, defense and interior ministries, has crashed. The country has suffered a strand of cyber attacks in recent weeks.
This article will discuss how organizations are affected due to cyber warfare in Ukraine, the massive surge in attacks, and essential steps for cybersecurity preparations.
How are organizations affected due to Russian cyber-attacks in Europe?
Cyber attacks can disrupt critical services, such as banks, water supplies, health, safety, and security. Moreover, it could undermine national security, which comes under espionage. The implications for businesses of the Ukraine conflict will be gone far beyond the region’s border. Business leaders need to assess if they have people or resources at risk, supply chains that can be interrupted, or operations that might be affected.
The White House has recently warned of the supply chain vulnerabilities that stem from the US chip industry’s reliance on the Ukrainian-based neon. Russia also exports various elements critical to manufacturing jet engines, semiconductors, agriculture, automobiles, and medicines.
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have recently issued a warning of the risks of Russian attacks spilling over onto the US networks. The European Central Bank has warned financial institutions of Europe of the risk of retaliatory Russian attacks in the event of the sanction and related market disruptions.
Massive Surge in Attacks
Suspected Russian-sourced cyber attacks were observed at an increase of over 800% over 48 hours. The US cybersecurity agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI shared high alerts that cover threat levels, readiness, and response. Hostile cyber warfare is one of the important tools of the global military today.
Cybercriminals have launched a DDoS attack in which servers are flooded with unauthorized requests so that infrastructure gets overwhelmed and then crashes. Apart from it, Ukraine blamed Moscow for a data-wiper malware attack. The attack is initiated using software that can destroy massive amounts of data without detection.
If we talk about history, criminal state-sponsored attacks have increased when geopolitical tensions are high. The forms of attacks that can emerge are not confirmed. However, with a history of previous attacks, there is a need to stay active for the following potential attacks.
- Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)
- Distributed Denial of Service attacks
- Code flaw vulnerabilities
- Zero-day vulnerabilities
- Network attacks
- Data anomalies
- Network anomalies
- Privilege escalation
Important steps for cybersecurity preparations
Internationally, governments have shared these security measures organizations can take to protect their infrastructure against cyber attacks.
Patch Business Critical Software
Patch for all vulnerabilities and software, even the old ones. Do not use shortcuts because you may get caught if you only patch against known vulnerabilities or attacks. Patch everything that is on the internet anywhere, in any way, handle your communication, traffic, or remote business operations.
Prepare for data destruction
Ransomware attacks can destroy data with a simple rewrite or simple disposal of decryption keys. It’s more critical to recover from attacks than nullify the threat. Therefore, it’s essential to validate your recovery and continuity plans and test your backups. Take the path of scenario-based planning on all components of your systems.
Get ready to respond promptly
Organizations should finely tune their response plan. Consider the outcomes if the data gets leaked. Consider who will be the incident response manager and ensure that all non-email contracts are up to date. Take proactive actions and reinforce how information for customers, employees, and teams will be shared if a crisis occurs.
Lockdown your network
It may seem difficult to run through all of your network aspects, especially when you use a convenient chat application or send links to clients and team members. However, it might be time to update policies and impact the convenient experiences. If you can figure out a way to eliminate a potentially vulnerable point, you must do it.
Every organization should act with extreme urgency to protect its IT infrastructure. The war in Ukraine combined with international cyberwar is a test of our cyber security abilities and a trial of our resolve. Nations are established on cyber offensive attacks. Therefore, our postures should be built on cybersecurity fundamentals.