Officials are closely monitoring the progress of Russian forces in Ukraine within the physical and digital landscapes. Cyber threats to critical government infrastructure are a growing problem, targeting not only Ukraine but also Western nations and government agencies.
Lee McKnight is an Associate Professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) whose research focus is cybersecurity. He provides written comments that can be quoted directly and is available for interview as this situation unfolds.
“U.S. corporate and government cybersecurity executives have been on high alert for weeks as President Putin telegraphed his intent to invade Ukraine’s territory, information systems and infrastructure. Russian cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, falsely claimed to have been provoked by Ukrainian attacks to which Russia responded, and hacks of Ukrainian government websites were all unfortunately expected parts of this operation.
“The average American also needs to be particularly vigilant about the Russian disinformation campaign and the conscious or unconscious efforts of its domestic partners to confound and deny the truth about what is happening. Everyone should also be aware of an increased chance of incoming phishing emails and maybe be a bit more adept than average deepfakes. These are professional, government-sponsored attempts to infiltrate and distract.
“The main thing everyone needs to know right now is that this metaverse of real and unreal plots and actors isn’t going away anytime soon. Everyone needs to increase their information security awareness through training, not just new services or hardware. Since the weakest link in cyber defenses is everyone’s ‘cyber hygiene’, it’s easy to get in and wreak havoc.”
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