The National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has updated its guidance for UK businesses and groups as it investigates reports of “malicious cyber incidents” in Ukraine amid fears of a Russian invasion.
Image: Mikhail Metzel/POOL/TASS)
British organizations have been warned to beef up their digital defenses due to “malicious” cyber incidents in Ukraine.
The National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has updated its guidance for UK companies and groups and said it is investigating recent reports of “malicious cyber incidents in Ukraine”.
The NCSC said it had not identified any current threats to the UK, but noted its updated guidance would allow organizations to “build resilience and stay ahead of potential threats”.
The center’s director of operations, Paul Chichester, said: “The NCSC is committed to raising awareness of evolving cyber threats and presenting practical steps to mitigate them.
“While we are not aware of any specific cyber threats to UK organizations in relation to the events in Ukraine, we are monitoring the situation closely and it is vital that guidance is followed by organizations to ensure they are resilient.
“For several years, we have observed a pattern of malicious Russian behavior in cyberspace. Last week’s incidents in Ukraine bear the hallmarks of similar Russian activity that we have observed before.”
The updated guidance encourages organizations to reduce the risk of falling victim to a cyberattack by taking “actionable” steps.
These include patching systems, improving access controls and enabling multi-factor authentication, implementing an effective incident response plan, and verifying that backup and restore mechanisms are working.
Businesses can also ensure that online defenses are performing as expected and are kept up to date with the latest threat and mitigation information.
Those organizations that are victims of a cyber attack are asked to report the incident to the NCSC Incident Management Team.
It comes as Russia said on Thursday it was clear the United States was unwilling to address its main security concerns in the standoff over Ukraine, but both sides kept the door open for further dialogue.
The United States and NATO submitted written responses on Wednesday to Russia’s demands to redesign post-Cold War security arrangements in Europe since it amassed troops near Ukraine, sparking Western fears of an invasion.
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow needed time to review and would not rush to conclusions, but US and NATO statements describing Russia’s main demands as unacceptable did not leave much room for optimism.
The Kremlin’s nuanced reaction showed that Russia was not rejecting US and NATO responses or closing the door on diplomacy.
Washington says he and his allies expect Russia to study their responses and return to the negotiating table.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the best way to de-escalate tensions was for NATO to withdraw forces from Eastern Europe, but it also sought to quell fears of an invasion.
US officials say President Vladimir Putin has not yet decided whether to invade.
“We have already repeatedly stated that our country does not intend to attack anyone,” said Alexei Zaitsev, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“We consider even the idea of a war between our people to be unacceptable.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.