” href=”https://www.law360.com/cybersecurity-privacy/articles/1478804?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=section#”>Ben Kochman Law360 (March 31, 2022, 10:05 PM EDT) — An ominous White House warning that Russia may soon launch cyberattacks on U.S. critical infrastructure and the release of an indictment detailing the Kremlin’s alleged past hacking schemes have cybersecurity advisers urging companies to shore up their defenses.
President Joe Biden’s March 21 statement that his office has “evolving intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks” in response to international sanctions is part of a broader strategy shift to speak more openly about digital threats than previous administrations have, cybersecurity attorneys say.
To hammer home its point about the dangers of Russian nation-state-backed cybercrime, the U.S. Department of Justice also unsealed an August 2021 indictment days after Biden’s statement, charging four Russian government employees with orchestrating sprawling hacking schemes targeting the global energy sector in 135 different countries between 2012 and 2017.
The suspected Russian operatives allegedly targeted oil and gas firms, nuclear power plants, and utility and power transmission companies in attacks that could have given Russia the chance to cause “potentially catastrophic” physical damage, prosecutors said.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in late February, a cyberattack on U.S critical infrastructure at the level of several high-profile 2021 intrusions has yet to emerge. Criminal ransomware gangs breached networks belonging to a key fuel pipeline and a meat processing giant in May 2021 alone.