Concerns Over Ukraine Continue to Drive Concerns Over Cybersecurity [Weekly Cybersecurity Brief]

As we have stated before, international topics are increasingly intertwined with cybersecurity. Two recent events that we pointed out in order to highlight this trend are the Olympics and the escalating issue developing in Ukraine. While very different in tone with the Olympics being a celebratory occasion and conflict in Ukraine being a threatening situation, both demonstrate the coming together of geopolitical influences and cybersecurity. This week, we provide updates on how they each continue to drive concern and action.

Cybersecurity and the Winter Olympics

At the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, it was reported that those attending were asked to use burner phones to avoid unwanted information breaches that experts warned could result from vulnerabilities. But now that the Olympics have ended and nearly 16,000 athletes, organizers, journalists, and other visitors, according to the Associated Press, are returning home, cybersecurity worries are once again bubbling up. For one, some wonder what problems could unfold for those who did not comply with the device request. While there hasn’t been any collected evidence of an attack stemming from time spent at the games, cybersecurity representatives are still suggesting that those who used their own phones and laptops take precautions such as changing passwords now that they are back. This is particularly important for journalists, the AP explains. This is because, if information was monitored by unwelcomed parties, it was likely to compile information around any potential political communication.

Cybersecurity and the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

As Paul R. Kolbe, Maria Robson Morrow, and Lauren Zabierek wrote for Harvard Business Review, “Whether an invasion occurs now or not, tensions will remain high, and the cyber threat will likely wax, not wane.” While the possibilities of what circumstances between Russia and Ukraine could turn into, there are both physical concerns of invasion as well as the unseen threats of cybersecurity warfare that could be in the works. If a cyberattack were to be carried out, this could have widespread implications for organizations located throughout the world including the United States. The Harvard Business Review reported that businesses are already bracing for impact due to threats that this conflict creates, and recommends that, in doing so, they implement tactics like continuity plans, connecting with peer networks and government agencies. In addition, it is important that they carefully review their supply chains, especially since the White House issued an alert over the risk this all poses to the supply chain and chip industry. 

The CISA Issues New Cybersecurity Guide

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has also put out an advisory relating to the threat of Russian cyberattacks, which led it to issue a guide most recently for organizations to turn to. Within the guide are free cybersecurity resources made available to help in the incident that a response would be necessary. It is also meant to help operations, specifically in fields such as infrastructure, eliminate risk exposure. It filed the resources under categories including “foundational measures, how to reduce the likelihood of a “damaging” cyberattack; the steps to take to detect an intrusion, incident response, and resources for maximizing resilience to destructive attacks,” according to ZDNet, and outlines details for services such as implementing two-factor or multi-factor authentication and updating software. The CISA has stated that it plans to maintain this list with the most relevant information and to open the program to organizations so that they can contribute more free tools.

Key Takeaways:

“At Olympics, cybersecurity worries linger in background” – Kelvin Chan, AP

https://apnews.com/article/winter-olympics-snowboarding-technology-sports-business-5130ee3d27e5077fb81feab5e227f6e1 

  • Now that the Olympics have ended and nearly 16,000 athletes, organizers, journalists, and other visitors are returning home, cybersecurity worries are once again bubbling up.
  • Experts are concerned over any vulnerabilities that attendees are coming back with on their devices and have suggested taking actions like changing passwords.
  • This warning is particularly important for journalists.

“The Cybersecurity Risks of an Escalating Russia-Ukraine Conflict” – Paul R. Kolbe, Maria Robson Morrow, and Lauren Zabierek, Harvard Business Review

https://hbr.org/2022/02/the-cybersecurity-risks-of-an-escalating-russia-ukraine-conflict

  • The conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to fuel cybersecurity concerns.
  • The Harvard Business Review reported that businesses are already bracing for impact due to threats that this conflict creates.
  • The White House recently issued an alert over the risk this all poses to the supply chain and chip industry.  

“CISA publishes guide with free cybersecurity tools, resources for incident response” – Charlie Osborne, ZDNet

https://www.zdnet.com/article/cisa-publishes-guide-with-free-cybersecurity-tools-resources-for-incident-response/

  • The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has also put out an advisory relating to the threat of Russian cyberattacks, which led it to issue a guide most recently for organizations to turn to.
  • The free resources included in the guide fall under categories like foundational measures, how to reduce the likelihood of a “damaging” cyberattack; the steps to take to detect an intrusion, incident response, and resources for maximizing resilience to destructive attacks.
  • The CISA plans to keep the list of resources updated and to eventually make it so that organizations can submit approved free tools.
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