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The UK encourages local organizations to brace for Russian state cyber attacks

UK organizations are being urged to bolster their defenses as cyber incidents in Ukraine intensify.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) published a press release after updating its guidance on mitigating cyber threats earlier last week.

Following the investigation into recent cyber incidents in Ukraine, the NCSC concluded that they are similar in nature to attacks previously attributed to Russia. The most recent attack on Ukrainian government computer networks, which featured a message of “Be afraid and wait for the worst” was also suspected to come from Russia, according to Ukrainian government officials.

“Over several years, we have observed a pattern of malicious Russian behaviour in cyberspace. Last week’s incidents in Ukraine bear the hallmarks of similar Russian activity we have observed before,” Paul Chichester, NCSC Director of Operations, is quoted in a statement.

The NCSC suggested that they are currently unaware of any potential risks to UK enterprises, but encouraged them to stay alert.

“While we are unaware of any specific cyber threats to UK organisations in relation to events in Ukraine, we are monitoring the situation closely and it is vital that organisations follow the guidance to ensure they are resilient,” Chichester added.

In its guidance, the NCSC recommends to check system patching, verify access controls, ensure defenses are working, review backups, check the internet footprint, and follow other mitigation strategies.

“An organisation is unlikely to be able to make widespread system changes quickly in response to a change in threat, but organisations should make every effort to implement these actions as a priority,” the guidance suggests.

The warning from the NCSC comes after a similar note from the USA’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which encouraged the cybersecurity community to remain alert of Russian state-sponsored cyber threats, particularly on critical infrastructure.

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