This year the world saw the initiation of an event we thought we might never see again: Russia invading Ukraine. Governments and nations around the world have been stunned by the move. Organisations, businesses and the markets have been rocked.
As the war continues to escalate, CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency) issued a stark new report earlier this year that all western organisations, both large and small, should know about. This marred report by CISA is a joint advisory between the major English-speaking nations, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and sets the tone for how organisations, including governments and businesses, need to bolster their cybersecurity defences. They warn that the likelihood that Russia will respond aggressively to the west’s economic sanctions with cyberattacks on crucial western infrastructure is higher than ever.
In response to this, we’re going to cover the CISA update and what it means for your business, how to check your current cybersecurity and how the right IT security support can help you prepare your defences in the ever-increasing likelihood of an attack.
The main message from CISA’s recent update.
The joint report document was released on 20 April 2022 as an alert update. The document, titled Russian State-Sponsored and Criminal Cyber Threats to Critical Infrastructure, describes how evolving intelligence indicates that Russia is exploring potential means for cyberattacks.
The report reminds us of how Russian state-sponsored cyber operations have already included distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. And previous operations have included the deployment of destructive malware against the Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure. In other words, Russian cybercriminals have shown what they can do before during times of war, and we’ve already seen the damage that can be done to large organisations, including government bodies.
The cybersecurity authorities have urged critical infrastructure network defenders to prepare for and mitigate potential cyber threats to protect western organisations. They mention particularly harsh types of threats that they predict will be increased. These include destructive malware, ransomware, DDoS attacks and cyber espionage.
Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to take extra steps to bolster their cybersecurity defences, as a large percentage of these businesses admit to not investing more into cybersecurity. In fact, 43% of all data breaches in 2021 were on SMBs.
While there are upfront costs, having experts in cybersecurity check for current gaps in cybersecurity has the potential to save a lot more in the long run — perhaps even their entire business.
What does this all mean for my business?
This crucial alert from CISA is aimed at all organisations, including government and public bodies and businesses of all sizes. The type of malicious attacks the report outlines could disrupt, breach and destroy incredibly valuable data, including valuable infrastructure, on a massive scale. No matter the type or size of the organisation, no enterprise is safe.
Also included in this update is a report that some cybercrime groups have recently pledged allegiance to the Russian state. These groups specialise in cyber warfare and look to infiltrate and do as much damage as possible to the west. And they’ve already threatened to conduct cyber operations in retaliation for perceived cyber offences against the Russian government or people.
Most businesses today heavily rely on computer networks and network infrastructure to operate. Daily operations, orders, transactions, communications and more could be disrupted. With businesses holding such vast amounts of critical information on local systems, and with CISA explicitly telling all organisations to do everything they can to tighten their cybersecurity in the increased likelihood of malicious cyberattacks, it’s more important than ever that enterprises that deal with valuable data enhance their defences now.
How do I increase my cybersecurity and prevent cyberattacks on my business?
Cybercriminals look for flaws in current security systems and seek to exploit vulnerable networks. They aim to scan for weaknesses so that they may infiltrate and steal confidential information, disable websites and disrupt organisations, including local businesses and governments. And, during times of war, they seek not only to steal vital data and critical information but also seek to do massive damage and cause major disruption.
Preventing cyberattacks, especially in times of turmoil where the likelihood of being breached is extremely high, requires considering all possible angles. Your organisation needs to:
- Identify weak points in your networks that may be a point of entry.
- Restrict and perhaps prevent access to potentially dangerous websites across your organisation.
- Install strong, business-wide antivirus software.
- Review the current knowledge of your entire business, including that of all its members, of cybersecurity, and consider outsourcing experts to help in this area.
These are some simple starting points to begin enhancing your cybersecurity. But complete protection goes much deeper than this. This is where an experienced IT and cybersecurity team could be of great benefit. They can help you by delving into the fundamentals of setting up a full-scale cybersecurity package tailored to your business needs that will help protect your data, information and organisation. Here are some of how cybersecurity specialists can tighten your cybersecurity:
- Install, configure and update antivirus and antimalware.
- Set up web and email filtering to protect your employees from clicking malicious links.
- Install strong and secure two-factor verification (2FV) on your systems.
- Discuss cyber liability insurance options.
- Create regular backups of all your critical data.
In the wake of the ongoing conflict, it’s more important than ever to tighten your defences. Cyberattacks have increased exponentially with no signs of slowing. Learn more about how to bolster your defences and have a team of specialists help you mitigate and prevent the increased likelihood of an attack.
Tighten your cybersecurity today.