Growing Cyber Threat and the Ukraine Crisis

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The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning that Russia may pursue a cyberattack against the U.S. as tensions escalate over Moscow’s buildup of forces near the border with Ukraine.

Russia could launch such an attack if it believes Washington’s response to its potential invasion of Ukraine threatens its long-term national security, according to the DHS bulletin released January 23 to law enforcement partners.

The bulletin said Russia “almost certainly considers cyber attacks an acceptable option to respond to adversaries” because it lacks the ability to respond with the economic and diplomatic options often preferred by other countries.

Russia’s cyber arsenal ranges from “low-level denials-of-service to destructive attacks targeting critical infrastructure.” 

DHS said Russian government cyber actors have spent years targeting and gaining access to critical infrastructure in the United States. 

Last year, cybercriminals based in Russia caused two of the most destructive cyberattacks in recent memory, the U.S. has said. The oil pipeline systems company Colonial Pipeline was the victim of a ransomware attack in May 2021, shutting down operations and causing widespread outages across the country, and meat supplier JBS had its operations shut down due to Russian-based hackers.

The bulletin noted Russian military assets have also launched attacks in Ukraine, pointing to attacks on the former Soviet state’s power grid in both 2015 and 2016, according to