Cybercrime has been on the rise as criminals have gone from robbing banks to hacking into checking accounts. Most recently, the war in Ukraine has highlighted another aspect of cybercrime: state actors.
State actors are actually one of the most active types of hackers. The war in Ukraine began with cyberattacks that targeted military and state infrastructure. As tensions have escalated, many have begun to wonder whether they should worry about their infrastructure getting hacked too.
This article will look at the background of the Russo-Ukrainian War, its cybersecurity implications, and some practical tips for staying safe and secure during this uncertain time.
The current Russo-Ukrainian War began in 2014 after the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, focusing on Crimea and parts of the Donbas. Since 2014, naval incidents, cyberattacks, and escalating political tensions have only deteriorated the relationship between the two countries. On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine.
As a part of its invasion, Russia attacked Ukraine’s ICT infrastructure and took out key Ukrainian government websites using cyberattacks and bombardments. Many websites took hours to be restored after the initial attack. Importantly, Russian attackers also took down major banking websites, despite Russia denying its involvement.
IT experts understand that the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war can have a substantial impact elsewhere in the world. US President Joe Biden warned business leaders to prepare for Russian cyberattacks due to US support for the Ukrainian government. Similar issues are sure to befall other NATO members and nations that fail to consent to the Russian invasion.
Particular areas like banking and crypto trading are likely to be the most common targets for attacks. State-sponsored attacks are seemingly unpredictable, but they often target support industries for government services. In addition, critical infrastructure like utility services and even social media may be targets of state-sponsored hackers.
Several years ago, North Korean hackers allegedly targeted Sony Pictures and Russian-based companies. Today, Russian hackers are attacking Ukraine, and tomorrow American and European websites could be the next targets.
Let’s look at some practical cybersecurity suggestions that are simple to implement.
Use an organizational chart to map out a plan for how to navigate cybersecurity threats. Having a plan is the most important part of any cybersecurity strategy. Let’s look at some steps that are easy to integrate into your response plan.
Phishing is the number one way hackers gain access to systems. Phishing is a type of social engineering where a bad actor convinces someone that they are reliable and trustworthy. By avoiding clicking and opening unknown and suspicious links in emails and text messages, you can help eliminate phishing threats.
One key component of your cybersecurity plan should be utilizing zero trust network access. Zero trust leverages Multi-Factor Authentication, encryption, and identity-based rules to maintain strict and controlled access to personal and business SaaS applications. By leveraging identity-based access and MFA, you can ensure that bad actors can’t get to your important data.
Staying on top of security updates is important too. Regularly check your network security software and ensure agents are running and operating with the latest updates. Zero-day vulnerabilities can often cause emergency patches to be issued, so make sure to update all mobile devices and computers to their latest OS and utilize software to help cover any potential security gaps.
IT professionals must remain diligent during the ongoing weeks when managing and monitoring their networks. Monitoring your network is critical to ensuring that unexpected activity is caught early.
Often, digital identity management can spot network abnormalities that might otherwise go unnoticed using traditional password security. Consider implementing firewalls and running a monitoring dashboard to catch illicit activity easily.
One way any member of your organization can get involved is to report threats and suspicious activity. Security is about everyone working together to protect your data. Immediately notify your IT team or admin if you receive any content or activities that seem malicious or unknown.
Reporting threats doesn’t just help you; it also enables IT teams to share information about these threats with other IT experts. In the end, reporting a suspicious link or text message can be all that stands between you and the next big data breach.
Finally, staying educated is key. Security Service Edge (SSE) is a complete approach that integrates multiple cloud-based security services into a single place. Consider learning more about SSE and how it can be used in workplaces that utilize cloud storage, mobile devices, and local offices.
The cyberattacks carried out during the Russian invasion of Ukraine highlight the power of hackers to take down important infrastructure. To protect yourself and your enterprise, it’s important to understand that these types of attacks can happen to anyone. Utilizing some of these basic tips will help ensure that your organization stays protected in the coming months.