DOJ bracing for the possibility of more cyberattacks from Russia

The Department of Justice is particularly focused on the cyber threat from Russia, Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen said.

"Take the recent cyberattack on satellite internet systems in Europe. As Russian troops moved into Ukraine during the early hours of February 24, satellite internet connections were suddenly disrupted. Russia's cyberattack against the satellite's ground infrastructure plunged tens of thousands of people in Europe into the internet darkness. According to public reports, this hit part of Ukrainian defenses," he said at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia.

He noted that thousands of people in Europe, including 2,000 wind turbines in Germany, were still reportedly offline a month after.

The FBI issued a warning to satellite communications providers to increase their defenses, given the geopolitical climate.

Olsen also recalled Russia's SolarWind attack last year when tens of thousands of networks globally, including those of US federal, state, and local governments, were compromised.

"And we are bracing for the possibility of more attacks. The White House recently reiterated the warning of the potential for Russia "to conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we've imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners," he said.

The DOJ and law enforcement partners continue to "aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals for malicious cyber activity," Olsen added, naming numerous recent examples of chargers against Russian nationals.

"This is the kind of activity that vividly demonstrates the intent and capability of the Russian government — it has global reach and ambition. So that is one benefit of these indictments. It isn't the only one. Just because we haven't arrested anyone to date doesn't mean we won't. We have very long memories at DOJ and the FBI, and we can be patient when necessary," Olsen said.

When the arrest is unlikely, the department prioritizes the disruption of criminal activity.

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