EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Russia’s invasion into Ukraine could mount cyber attacks against U.S. interests.

The Department of Homeland Security is issuing a warning to be prepared for potential attacks. Russia’s attack on Ukraine, includes cyber-attacks on Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure organizations.
U.S. officials say may have consequences for our own nation’s critical infrastructure, a potential we’ve been warning about for months.

The U.S. Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency warns of potential Russian cyber attacks on the U.S. The Shields Up alert says every organization large and small must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber activity.

Greg McAleer is a retired Secret Service executive from the Office of Investigations and senior VP of Risk Management for global security firm Global Guardian. He says the threat of Russian cyber attacks is constant.

“Most recently with election interference to possible attacks on our critical infrastructure and the constant threat of ransomware attacks,” McAleer said.

He says financial institutions and the critical infrastructure sector should be on guard for escalation in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“If pressed, and these escalations increase, pressure increases, we are bound to see some kind of cyber activity,” McAleer said.

Local engineer and owner of Evolution Computers in Kingston Spencer Rappaport is an expert on all things cyberspace and he’s a cyber security consultant for a number of businesses. He says the potential reach of cyber attackers is farther than we think.

“Shutting down the way we do banking, shutting down the way that you access everything even how you get water because that’s all controlled through an electronic meter. Everything is all interconnected,” Rappaport said.

For businesses Rappaport says to use latest software and security updates, run an anti-virus and make sure you have an off-site back-up. McAleer’s advice for the general public is to practice good cyber hygiene.

“The great news is that recently the partnerships between Secret Service, FBI, and the National Cyber Investigative joint Task Force positioned us well to respond quickly and appropriately to cyber threats,” McAleer said.

He says the U.S. is in good position to ensure safety and stability of our critical infrastructure and the health of the public.

“The cyber actors are great at their craft and we just have to be better,” McAleer said.

Homeland Security says all organizations should report incidents and/or anomalous activity to CISA.

Below are some additional ways to practice good cyber hygiene:

  • Implement multi-factor authentication on your accounts and make it 99 percent less likely you’ll get hacked.
  • Update your software. In fact, turn on automatic updates.
  • Think before you click. More than 90% of successful cyber-attacks start with a phishing email.
  • Use strong passwords, and ideally a password manager to generate and store unique passwords.