The US government is working with companies to ensure they are prepared for a Russian cyberattack. But what can you do?

The cyberwar surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine escalates as Russian soldiers and tanks lay siege to the country.

Now, experts are prepared for the possibility of these cyberattacks coming here and making sure American businesses and consumers are prepared. Taking steps to avoid being exposed to such an attack might be easier than people think, experts told MarketWatch.

A week before Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the dispatch of troops to his neighboring country, a cyberattack hit a series of Ukrainian government websites and banks, according to The Associated Press. Ukrainian officials have suggested that Russia was behind the incident. Earlier this month, CNN reported that officials from several U.S. agencies met with U.S. bank executives to discuss how they might respond to Russian cybercriminals, according to people briefed on the meeting.

As the ground assault intensified this week, a Twitter TWTR,
account linked to the hacker collective Anonymous claimed responsibility for a series of attacks, including one on RT, a Russian state-funded media outlet that the US State Department has previously called “disinformation and propaganda ecosystem”.

Back on American soil, President Joe Biden warned Thursday: “If Russia pursues cyberattacks against our businesses, our critical infrastructure, we are ready to react. Government officials have been working for months with the private sector “to strengthen their cyber defenses, also fine-tune our ability to respond to Russian cyberattacks,” Biden said.

Last month, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a federal agency under the Department of Homeland Security, issued a warning.

Last month, the US Agency for Cyber ​​and Infrastructure Security, a federal agency under the Department of Homeland Security, issued a warning: “Historically, state-sponsored Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors used common but effective tactics – including brute force and exploiting known vulnerabilities against low-security accounts and networks – to gain initial access to target networks.

“Russian state-sponsored APT actors have also demonstrated sophisticated craft and cyber capabilities by compromising third-party infrastructure, compromising third-party software, or developing and deploying custom malware,” he added. “Actors have also demonstrated the ability to maintain persistent, undetected, long-term access in compromised environments – including cloud environments – using legitimate credentials.”

The largest US chipmaker has reportedly been the victim of a cyberattack, the company announced on Friday. A spokesperson for Nvidia told MarketWatch that it is “investigating an incident” but said its “business and commercial activities continue uninterrupted. We are still working to assess the nature and scope of the event and have no additional information to share at this time.

If the government is working with businesses to make sure they are prepared for anything that would try to take down internet service or eliminate operations, what should people be doing to prepare?

Markets jumped Friday afternoon on news that Russia was open to talks with Ukrainian leaders, even as Russian forces set their sights on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. On Sunday night, however, U.S. stock index futures fell after Putin raised Russia’s nuclear alert level following scathing new sanctions from the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But if the government is working with businesses to make sure they’re prepared for anything that tries to drain internet service or eliminate operations, what should people be doing to prepare? That’s important given how the pandemic has deepened our reliance on the internet for banking, shopping and working, experts say.

At least nine federal agencies and 100 private sector companies have recently been compromised by cyberattacks. Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies, at a press conference last year“The intelligence community is looking at who is responsible. Until this study is complete, I will use the language we used before, which is that an Advanced Persistent Threat Actor, probably of Russian origin, was responsible.

If new Russian-linked malware initially targets Ukraine “it’s not necessarily something that can be contained in Ukraine,” said Lisa Plaggemier, acting executive director of the National Cybersecurity Alliance, a nonprofit organization. non-profit. And even if there is no kind of Russian-backed cyberattack, cybercriminals of all kinds could try to exploit the moment for their own gain.

How to protect your personal information online:

• Keep an eye out for “phishing” emails that attempt to trick someone into clicking. “If there’s a way to be socially manipulated with headlines because we’re all in it, they’ll take advantage of it,” Plaggemier said.

“Watch for suspicious activity that asks you to do something immediately, offers something that seems too good to be true, or requires your personal information. Think before you click. When in doubt, do NOT click,” according to a federal government website,

• People should use multi-step authentication passwords to access important accounts, Plaggemier said. This includes financial accounts, but it should also include social media accounts. “Yes, multi-factor authentication takes a few extra seconds, but it avoids a world of harm,” she said.

Similarly, consumers should definitely consider a password manager if they haven’t already. Using one isn’t as difficult as consumers might think because it stores and remembers more passwords along the way, she said.

• Consider backing up critical information to an encrypted file or to a device such as an external hard drive. Cloud-based services are also a good option, Plaggemier said.

• Constantly update computer operating systems and mobile phone applications. “If Russia exploits a vulnerability in the next few days or weeks, everyone is going to rush to create a patch,” she said, adding that it’s a good idea to log out of websites and accounts, allowing updates to run.

In the words of Neuberger at the White House briefing last year: “In the United States, the way we are structured, public-private partnership must be a central part of national cyber defense. So there is active sharing going both ways: the government is sharing its ideas with private sector entities – both that have been compromised and those that have greater visibility – and private sector entities that are sharing their ideas. to ensure that together we can extend and extend what has happened.

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