US Officials Increase Warnings About Russian Cyber-Attacks

Senior US officials have stepped up their warnings about Russian cyber-attacks on critical national infrastructure (CNI) as the war in Ukraine intensifies.

During an interview on “60 Minutes” on CBS, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco from the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) director Jen Easterly discussed cyber-threats and the steps the DoJ and CISA are taking to prepare for possible Russian cyber-attacks.

“We are seeing Russian state actors scanning, probing, looking for opportunities, looking for weaknesses in our systems on critical infrastructure, on businesses,” explained Monaco.

“Think of it as a burglar going around trying to jiggle the lock in your house door to see if it’s open, and we’re seeing that,” Monaco added.

Easterly commented that her agency is witnessing “evolving intelligence,” suggesting that cyber-attacks coordinated by Russia are likely and critical infrastructure should assume they will be targets and prepare accordingly.

Last month, a new report from Accenture claimed that the cybercrime underground has fractured into pro-Ukraine and pro-Russia camps, with the latter increasingly focused on critical national infrastructure targets in the West.

Easterly also said the energy and finance sectors are likely to be targeted by Russian cyber-criminals, particularly due to the economic sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.

“I think we are dealing with a very dangerous, very sophisticated, very well-resourced cyber actor. And that’s why we’ve been telling everybody consistently, shields up. What does that mean? It means assume there will be disruptive cyber activity and make sure you are prepared for it,” Easterly said, responding to a question from Whitaker about how the governments should respond to increasing attacks from Russia.

Last week, the Department was involved in one of the world’s most notorious hacking marketplaces, RaidForums, being shut down and its infrastructure seized in a major cross-border law enforcement operation.

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