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'Be on high alert' for Russian cybersecurity attacks, expert says

FILE - This Feb 23, 2019, file photo shows the inside of a computer. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
FILE - This Feb 23, 2019, file photo shows the inside of a computer. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
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WASHINGTON (TND) — As the world keeps a close eye on a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, cybersecurity experts are warning an attack closer to home can cripple technology in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies last week, warning a Russian cyber attack could happen in response to U.S. or NATO actions if Russia were to invade Ukraine.

“Russia certainly has the cyber warfare capabilities, and they've shown it time and time again over the past 15 years,” said attorney and cybersecurity expert Leeza Garber to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “We see the effects in Ukraine right now. Russia has already been behind certain cyberattacks that have caused defacement on public websites. And then government agencies have already seen malware infiltrated that has likely come from Russia.”

Garber said cyberattacks on Ukraine can “ripple out into the United States as well.”

“Disruptive and destructive attacks against Ukraine are likely to have broader implications, including potential impacts to organizations based outside the country,” said cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike.

“We need to be on high alert for what these kinds of attacks look like. And it's not just cyberattacks, but it's also disinformation campaigns. That's something that Russia has used in its toolbox for many years,” said Garber.

According to Garber, “the Biden administration has thrown quite a bit of money at cybersecurity in recent years.”

“Biden has also issued memos and executive orders that have required new measures be put in place to be proactive and it's about better cybersecurity and higher standards for protection,” said Garber. “The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the NSA, SISA — all of these entities have to focus on cybersecurity as a huge priority.”

The DHS recently announced the creation of a cyber safety review board as a means to improve cybersecurity across the country.

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“This board is made up of 15 cybersecurity powerhouse players in the public sector, in government, and in the private sector. The goal of this new board is to review all cybersecurity threats that they come across and pick apart what happened and how to better protect themselves moving forward,” said Garber. “When we threat share, when we share information about what we've seen and experienced, it helps us learn and grow. It's so important as a country to come together, public and private.”

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