US President Joe Biden has once again warned of the need to improve cybersecurity amid a warning that Russia may be exploring options for potential cyberattacks in response to sanctions imposed on the country.
The President said in a statement that the administration has worked to strengthen national cyber defending, including mandating extensive cybersecurity measures for the Federal Government and critical infrastructure sector where it has the authority to do so. The President added that as much the government would continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt and respond to cyberattacks, it can not defend against the threat alone.
“Most of America’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector and critical infrastructure owners and operators must accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors,” the President said. “I urge our private sector partners to harden your cyber defenses immediately by implementing the best practices we have developed together over the last year.”
The details on any specific intelligence that Russia is about to launch attacks were vague. The fact sheet simply stated that “there is now evolving intelligence that Russia may be exploring options for potential cyberattacks.” There’s no broader context either – presumably, they are referring to Russia launching a new cyberattack campaign as the Russian government, through state-sponsored hacking groups, has been hacking targets in the US for years.
Companies are being asked to do their role in hardening protection through the use of multi-factor authentication, deployment of modern security tools and working with cybersecurity professionals. Companies should also back up their data and ensure they have an offline backup, run services and drill emergency plans to respond to an attack and encrypt data so it cannot be used if stolen.
“This latest warning from the Biden administration is not surprising following strict sanctions imposed by the US on Russia and the country’s ongoing interest in American intelligence gathering,” said Arti Raman, chief executive officer and founder of data protection and privacy platform provider Titaniam. SiliconANGLE. “The administration’s advice encourages organizations to prepare for an onslaught of attacks by mandating the use of multi-factor authentication, backups and data encryption, which we fully support.”
Raman warned that it’s not of if cyber adversaries will break into an organization’s systems, but when. “With Russian nation-state actors targeting government organizations, contractors and enterprises in highly regulated industries that house highly sensitive information, the right encryption technology could be the make or break factor in that data being compromised.”
Danielle Jablanski, OT cybersecurity strategist at Nozomi Networks, noted that “companies often focus risk mitigation on people, technologies, and processes in isolation, where threat actors exploit the transaction and interactions of information, data, credentials and privileges to impact the integrity of operations . ”
“Specific medium-term measures include an immediate review of security policies – what needs more robust protection, to identify gaps where policy may be ignored or not enforced, and to back up data in a secondary place not attached to operational, real-time networks and operations, ”Jablanski added.