Conflict between Ukraine and Russia prompts US companies to step up cyber programs


US experts say the colonial pipeline hit a year ago raised alarm bells about the risk of security threats, but the conflict in Ukraine has prompted US companies to take serious steps to bolster their cybersecurity.

Quoting a senior expert from a firm specializing in cybersecurity software solutions used to combat malware and ransomware attacks, The hill reported on Saturday that amid growing fears that Washington’s support for the Kyiv government in the Ukraine-Russia conflict could have serious repercussions for the United States, including attacks on US targets in cyberspace , American companies aim to mature their security programs following the jolt given to them by the Colonial pipeline hit.

Last year’s disruptive ransomware attack caught Colonial Pipeline off guard, forcing America’s main pipeline system to halt operations for nearly a week. The attack was blamed on Russian hacker group DarkSide, allegedly linked to Moscow, which allegedly received a $4.4 million ransom.

“The biggest escalator beyond Colonial last year has just been the war in Ukraine and the potential fallout on the United States and other developed parts of the world,” said Peter Lund, chief technology officer. from Massachusetts-based Industrial Defender.

“That’s really what made everyone nervous and in a rush to mature their security programs,” the cybersecurity expert pointed out.

Lund said US companies began implementing more sophisticated cybersecurity programs after the colonial pipeline attack, but the conflict in Ukraine was what really spurred them to act faster and on a larger scale than before. previously.

Brandon Wales, executive director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), who spoke at a cyber webinar on Thursday, described the Colonial Pipeline attack as a “galvanizing event for the country”.

He said that American companies had put up shields and strengthened their cyber defenses after the colonial attack.

“A lot of companies have put their shields in place, they’re taking this issue more seriously and they’re better prepared today,” Wales said.

“And we want them to continue to prepare because this conflict is not over yet,” he added.

In this regard, the US State Department on Friday offered a reward of up to $15 million for information on the Conti hacker group.

“By offering this award, the United States is demonstrating its commitment to protecting potential ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

The FBI estimates worldwide that more than 1,000 alleged victims of the Conti Group paid a total of more than $150 million in ransomware payments, Price added, further claiming that the hacker group was behind of an attack in April against the tax and customs services of Costa Rica. platforms, impacting its foreign trade.

The Conti group is said to be based in Russia with links to Moscow.

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