Putin faces “dissatisfaction” from the inner circle, says an expert
Russia has been blamed for cyberattacks around the world for years, and last week it was accused of shutting down public and private websites in Norway. According to the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), an attack on the UK could be imminent, potentially affecting millions of people and resulting in the loss of money and sensitive information.
Professor Alan Woodward is a cybersecurity expert at the University of Surrey and explained that cyberattacks are increasingly targeting the software used by UK organisations.
So-called “supply chain attacks” targeting software can wreak havoc and result in billions of pounds lost to the economy.
Professor Woodward told Express.co.uk: “They discover software that is being used in an organization and they subvert that software so that, for example, the next time it is updated it contains malicious software.
“This was seen when a small piece of accounting software was mandated for use by anyone doing business with Ukrainian companies – some ransomware was buried in it and it caused billions of dollars in damage from disruptions.”
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Putin’s hackers: A cyber attack by an enemy state could cripple the British economy
Putin’s hackers: Supply chain attacks likely to hit British companies
According to the NCSC, supply chain cyberattacks have the potential to allow hackers to take control of systems they are given access to.
This could mean that websites with classified information, such as B. Government systems could be hit by a cyber attack and taken over by hostile countries or people acting on their behalf.
A problem with cybersecurity today is that there are many different states or groups that want to launch such an attack against the UK.
Professor Woodward explained: “The biggest problem with attacks in cyberspace is attribution. Who knows it? Most start with the obvious question of cui bono [who would benefit]?
“However, a minor erosion of a country’s economic well-being is more likely to be accomplished by many smaller, very elusive attacks than by a grand Pearl Harbor.”
Putin’s hackers: It can be difficult to figure out where cyberattacks are coming from
“To deter nation-state attacks, the UK has built its own offensive cyber capabilities. It’s the same principle as with nuclear weapons: don’t attack us or you will suffer an equally terrible attack.
“Unfortunately, things are not so well controlled and it can quickly escalate. As such, many question the wisdom of ‘hacking back’.”
In June, Microsoft announced that hackers from Russia would launch attacks on 40 different countries supporting Ukraine.
A blog on the company’s website explained: “On February 24, 2022, the Russian military poured across the Ukrainian border with a combination of troops, tanks, planes and cruise missiles.
“But the first shots were actually fired hours earlier, when the calendar was still showing February 23. It was a cyber weapon called “Foxblade” that was used against computers in Ukraine.”
The British government has said the same thing, identifying Russia as “behind a series of cyberattacks since the start of the re-invasion of Ukraine”.
But Russia has said that the US and its allies are also using cyber warfare, and has accused the West of conducting “a large-scale cyber attack” against Russia.
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Putin’s hackers: Secretary of State Liz Truss has warned about Russia’s cyberwarfare capability
Speaking of Russian cyber attacks on Ukraine, Secretary of State Liz Truss said: “This is clear and shocking evidence of a deliberate and malicious attack on Ukraine by Russia that has had significant consequences for citizens and businesses in Ukraine and across Europe.”
The British government has accused Moscow of using smaller countries like Georgia as a testing ground for cyber attacks.
In a statement from Downing Street announcing British-Georgian cooperation on cyber defense last week, Moscow was accused of using Georgia as a testing ground for cyber warfare.
It said this began in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia and launched a coordinated cyber attack to cripple the country’s defenses.
Increasingly, hostile states like Russia can use a form of cyber mercenary to carry out hacking attacks reminiscent of the Cold War.
Professor Woodward said: “In the modern cyber threat landscape, nation states have the ability to use mercenaries just as they did during the Cold War.
“Crime as a service has been a growing trend in recent years: you may have malicious software and infrastructure to run it on. That way it is not traced back to any government entity.”
This would mean that a cyber attack on the UK could never be traced back to Russia and the country could never blame anyone.
On Sunday July 4th, the British Army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts were hacked and an investigation is underway to find the culprit.
During the takeover, the Twitter account shared several posts about NFTs – non-fungible tokens or digital artworks as dictated by the hackers.
An Army spokesman said: “We are aware of a breach of the Army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts and an investigation is ongoing. We take information security very seriously and solve the problem. Until the investigation is complete, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”