As tensions rise further in Eastern Europe, the UK government’s involvement has put UK businesses under threat of increased Russian cyber-attacks.
GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) and NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) have urged UK businesses of all sizes to take pre-emptive measures and improve their IT security to protect from a probable surge in Russian-based attacks.
NCSC reported that the UK saw a 7.5% increase in Russian-based ransomware attacks last year. SonicWall, a leading Firewall and Cyber Security company, found that ransomware attacks on their customer rose by 105% in 2021, with over 623 million attempted incidents reported.
GCHQ and NCSC have said that while they are not aware of any current specific threats to UK businesses in relation to the events occurring in and around Ukraine, there has been a historical pattern of cyber-attacks on Ukraine with international consequences.
“Over several years, we’ve observed a pattern of malicious Russian behavior in cyberspace. One big example was the ‘NotPetya’ cyberattack against Ukraine in 2017”.
“It was created to target Ukrainian critical infrastructure. But its indiscriminate design caused it to spread further, shutting down some UK organisations’ IT systems and affecting aspects of business operations.” – A spokesman from the NCSC.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have echoed GCHQ’s and NCSC’s call for urgent pre-emptive measures.
Ordinarily, Cyber Wise does not intervene with what can be argued as ‘political conversation’ around the potential threat of Russian-based cyber-attacks. However, with the overwhelming amount of evidence of Russian-based cyber-attacks over the last several years, and most evidently last year, Cyber Wise has decided to act.
Cyber Wise Pre-Emptive Recommendations…
Does your business have the security tools in place to stay protected?
  • Are all network devices protected by up-to-date antivirus/anti-malware?
  • Is your network protected by an up-to-date and licensed Firewall?
  • Are your mailboxes protected by a SPAM filter and email protection?
  • Are your accounts and VPNs protected by multi-factor authentication (MFA/2FA)?
  • Are your business and personal account credentials stored in a password management system?
  • Is personal and confidential information sent via encrypted email?
Does your business have the security policies in place to stay protected?
  • Do you have a strong, complex password requirement policy enforced?
  • Are all default device administrator passwords changed to a new, complex password?
  • Are all device and software updates installed within 2 weeks of being released?
  • Are all critical security updates installed as a matter of urgency?
  • Do you protect personal and confidential information by role-based access rights?
  • Do you only deliver personal and confidential information via encrypted methods?
Does your team know what they can do to help protect your business?
  • Do you provide your team with IT Security training and courses?
  • Do your team know how to spot and handle malicious phishing attacks?
  • Do your team understand the threat that cyber-attacks pose to your business?
  • Does your team’s ability to spot and handle malicious phishing attacks get tested?
  • Does your team understand GDPR?
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the pre-emptive steps outlined above, please get in touch with a member of the Cyber Wise team.

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