A top cybersecurity official Saturday warned that the U.S. is "already in a warfare state" with Russia and said it should prepare for cyberattacks
A top cybersecurity official Saturday warned that the U.S. is “already in a warfare state” with Russia and said it should prepare for cyberattacks coming out of Moscow.
The U.S. and its NATO allies have promised to hit Russia with swift and severe economic sanctions should the Kremlin violate Ukraine’s sovereignty with a military-led incursion.
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“If Russia does indeed go into the Donbas region and wave a flag…the United States has already promised a series of responses,” R.P. Eddy, CEO of cybersecurity firm Ergo, told a bipartisan group of governors. “What is Russia’s next move?
“[Its] very likely is to increase cyberattacks. It’s an easy move for them,” he added. “That means U.S. states and U.S. private companies need to be taking this very seriously.
“We are already in a warfare state right now, and we need to be aware of that,” Eddy warned.
The cyber expert pointed to the 2017 NotPetya malware attack on critical Ukrainian sectors including power grids, businesses and government agencies. But what started out as a component of a suspected Russian attack on Ukraine spread throughout Europe and reportedly cost billions.
Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Jen Easterly said the agency was taking the threat of a Russian invasion and any rippling effects “very seriously.”
But she also warned against being overly concerned of an imminent threat of a cyberattack.
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“We need to understand how we all work together in what we called ‘peacetime’ to be ready for ‘wartime’ in cyber,” Easterly said during a National Governors Association event in Washington, D.C.
The CISA chief said a top priority for the agency is not only collaborating with the U.S. military, government entities and private businesses to best address cybersecurity needs, but to better educate Americans on the ongoing cyber threat.
“People get scared of cyber because it’s seen as very technical,” she said. “And often times it seems very scary because frankly, it is.
“What we need to do…is make cybersecurity and most importantly cyber-hygiene a kitchen table issue,” Easterly added.
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The cyber expert said that taking steps to update software, replacing legacy infrastructure, moving to secure clouds and password managing programs will better protect not only government entities but even the average American from the threat of a cyberattack.