Russia: US Senator says people should ‘up their cyber defences’
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Since Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine last month, Western powers, including the UK, have been announcing various lists of sanctions against the Russian President and his connections. Since then, fears have arisen that the Kremlin will retaliate by launching a series of hostile malware and cyber attacks, particularly targeted at the UK.
However, an expert has warned that aside from directly targetting major banks and companies in the UK, Putin may attempt to cause “chaos and disruption” in the NHS by bringing UK hospitals to a standstill.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Danny Lopez, CEO of cybersecurity technology company Glasswall, warned against such imminent attacks by Russian hackers.
He said: “I think that we have to expect and we have to prepare for attacks in the coming days, weeks, and months.
“The objective of these attacks is to cause disruption, confusion, fear and chaos.
“So you immediately have to think about what services would cause disruption, confusion, fear and chaos in the population.
According to Mr Lopez, Russian hackers will likely target the public sector through disabling critical infrastructure.
These include electricity, gas, and water supply to flow to the UK, and also could mean an attack on transportation systems, including rails and airlines.
He added: “Within the public sector, it also includes hospitals, we’ve seen that before.
“Anything that can have a huge disruptive effect on the population.”
For the hospitals, Mr Lopez warned that an attack would occur through “data-driven hacks”.
He said: “Unfortunately, it’s through blocking databases, booking systems, flow of data on patients, all those sorts of things mean that operations can’t take place, doctors can’t be sent to their hospitals, etc.
“It’s an example of a very data-driven kind of attack.
“If you paralyse data, you’re essentially bringing hospitals to a standstill.
“There are a number of examples where the NHS has been under attack before.”
In May 2017, a ransomware known as WannaCry, infected 230,000 machines in more than 150 countries, and affected NHS services.
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As a result of the attack, the NHS was brought to a standstill for several days, affecting hospitals and GP services across the UK.
Though Mr Lopez believes that targetted attacks on the UK are highly likely as a retaliation to the sanctions imposed on Russia, another threat that the UK faces is disruption and chaos through indirect attacks by targetting specific companies in a supply chain.
He said: “We know that attacks originating in Russia are most likely state-sponsored.
“It’s an important distinction here, it could be a targeted attack – which is very likely as we the UK continue to impose very tough sanctions.
“The reality is a tit for tat world, a strong sanction could very well lead to cyber-attacks coming our way.”
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