WASHINGTON D.C. – The White House is reinforcing the threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure by way of cybersecurity attacks that may be launched in retaliation to the severe sanctions that the White House has leveled against Russia after their invasion of Ukraine.
President Joe Biden on Monday issued a warning that the Russian government is preparing widespread cyberattacks against the United States.
“I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States,” Pres. Biden said in a statement, “including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners. It’s part of Russia’s playbook. Today, my Administration is reiterating those warnings based on evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks.”
The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been actively working with organizations across the critical infrastructure to rapidly share information and mitigation guidance to help protect their systems and networks.
For several weeks, CISA has been alerting both the public and the private sector that there could be attacks both within our nation’s critical infrastructure but private citizens are not immune to some of those attacks.
CISA launched its Shields Up campaign to educate everyone as to how to make it more difficult for bad actors to take any actions on or networks.
During the White House Press Briefing, again, the message was clear. They are urging everyone to take head and to make preparations to better protect themselves.
CISA says that every organization—large and small—must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber activity and that they are ready to help organizations prepare ”for, respond to, and mitigate the impact of cyber-attacks.”
According to the White House fact sheet that aims to help companies protect their systems from cyber attacks, several of the following items are listed are as follows:
- Mandate the use of multi-factor authentication on your systems to make it harder for attackers to get onto your system;
- Deploy modern security tools on your computers and devices to continuously look for and mitigate threats;
- Check with your cybersecurity professionals to make sure that your systems are patched and protected against all known vulnerabilities, and change passwords across your networks so that previously stolen credentials are useless to malicious actors;
- Back up your data and ensure you have offline backups beyond the reach of malicious actors;
- Run exercises and drill your emergency plans so that you are prepared to respond quickly to minimize the impact of any attack;
- Encrypt your data so it cannot be used if it is stolen;
- Educate your employees to common tactics that attackers will use over email or through websites, and encourage them to report if their computers or phones have shown unusual behavior, such as unusual crashes or operating very slowly; and
- Engage proactively with your local FBI field office or CISA Regional Office to establish relationships in advance of any cyber incidents. Please encourage your IT and Security leadership to visit the websites of CISA and the FBI where they will find technical information and other useful resources.
“My Administration will continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt, and if My Administration will continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt, and if necessary, respond to cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. But the Federal Government can’t defend against this 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 Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been actively working with organizations across critical infrastructure to rapidly share information and mitigation guidance to help protect their systems and networks.”
“If you have not already done so, 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. You have the power, the capacity, and the responsibility to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of the critical services and technologies on which Americans rely. We need everyone to do their part to meet one of the defining threats of our time — your vigilance and urgency today can prevent or mitigate attacks tomorrow.”
To read more about how you can protect yourself, please visit CISA by clicking here.
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