Businesses and organisations across the UK are urged to review their cyber defences by Bondgate IT as tensions rise amid a feared Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It has been reported that hackers have already defaced 70 Ukrainian government websites while malware has been placed inside the systems of official agencies.
Garry Brown, managing director of the Darlington-based cyber security specialist, said that Ukraine has long been a victim of cyberattacks, which could be escalated to target NATO countries, including the UK.
He said: “Businesses and organisations need to review and strengthen security measures in anticipation of any cyberattack.
“In the past there have been examples of businesses and organisations in the UK inadvertently affected, as malware has spread beyond its intended target.
“There is also a possibility that, as tensions increase, cyberattacks may be launched against those countries opposing a Russian incursion, including the United States and its allies, including the UK, France, Germany, and Spain.”
While the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has said it is unaware of specific threats involving the UK, it has issued new guidance saying it is vital companies stay ahead of any potential threat.
Last year the NCSC tackled a record 777 cyber incidents, saying a number were linked to hostile states, including Russia and China. It has previously identified the source of several global cyberattacks as the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, which cost
national economies millions of pounds.
In 2017, hackers accessed software used for tax returns in Ukraine, but the malicious software spread affecting the operations of international companies, including many in the UK.
Russia has always denied responsibility for any cyberattacks or of harbouring ransomware groups.
Garry added: “In the modern age, cyber warfare can have an enormous impact, with the potential to disable a nation’s critical infrastructure and disrupt everything from hospitals to food distribution.
“Businesses and organisations need to improve their resilience by taking a layered approach to cyber security. This includes addressing a range of issues from patching systems, installing effective online defences, and ensuring back-ups and restore mechanisms are functioning correctly.”
“IT touches every part of our lives in an extremely interconnected world, which is why it’s essential that businesses ensure they are both protected and are able to recover quickly in the event of a successful cyberattack.”