The Ukraine Crisis: How to Protect Yourself from Cyber-attacks

The Ukraine Crisis

Cyberattacks are becoming a popular weapon of choice in the ongoing Ukraine crisis Russia-Ukraine conflict. They have the potential to have far-reaching consequences throughout the world. Despite the fact that they are difficult to forecast, they may be controlled with adequate planning.

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict is being fought both on the ground and in cyberspace.

Ukrainians are fighting a war on the ground as well as on the internet, driving the need for enterprises and individuals around the world that deal with sensitive information to tighten their cybersecurity standards on this ongoing Ukraine crisis.

A harmful malware operation targeting Ukrainian-based enterprises was discovered by the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) in January 2022. The virus was created with the intent of deleting data and applications.

In mid-February 2022, two Ukrainian banks as well as the country’s military ministry were victims of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which swamped websites and rendered them inaccessible to customers and clients.

In order to defend ourselves — and our businesses — from similar attacks, we must first understand what they are.

It is an institutional, not a personal issue

Currently, experts say, they are more worried with institutional cyber breaches than they are with personal cyber hacks. In the meantime, though, assaults on individual accounts held by ordinary persons who work for organisations that handle sensitive information remain a possibility.

According to Rachel Schutte, an IT and cybersecurity manager located in Germany, “those who are not suspicious are typically the weakest link and the foot in the door for hackers aiming to conduct a wider attack on key infrastructure.”

For European Government workers who were supporting Ukrainian refugees escape their country, this was the situation. They got large numbers of phishing emails — or communications intended to capture sensitive information — from a hijacked account belonging to a Ukrainian military service man, according to her.

German broadcaster Deutsche Welle has also encouraged workers to tighten security on their personal social media accounts in response to an increase in the number of hacks targeting employees of high-profile companies.

Cloud-based espionage

A race towards linked networks is being fuelled by cloud-based services, which disperse diverse operations over various data centres in multiple places. The cloud-based systems that give services that were previously exclusively available through a single computer system, such as Google Drive, WhatsApp, and Facebook, would be ideal in an ideal society.

However, although interconnection might improve efficiency, it also makes systems more vulnerable to hacking attempts aimed at reaching networks that are physically beyond of reach of the attacker.

It is critical to take safeguards to keep your online information safe.

Schutte suggests using a secure browser and creating a complicated password that is at least twelve digits in length in order to strengthen security precautions. In addition, she stated that instead of having the same password for every account, passwords should be unique for each application.

Schutte also stated that having a strong password is not sufficient. Multi-factor authentication is really necessary. This approach adds to the rudimentary security of a password by requiring a user to provide two pieces of documentation to prove their identity before being permitted access to a particular account.

Do not open the door

Phishing schemes are yet another prevalent way used by hackers to acquire access to sensitive information, such as credit card numbers.

When a series of bogus emails were sent to DW workers in January, the company was forced to cope with the consequences of employees clicking on harmful links.

Phishing schemes may be difficult to detect, so Schutte advises that people “never click on, open, or react to anything that they are not quite certain is legitimate,” according to the FBI.

Check for spelling issues and bad language if you are unclear if an email is authentic or not. Never react to demands for money if you are unsure whether the email is legitimate.

If you believe the email is a fraud, delete it as soon as possible.

How to avoid being attacked in the first place

It was noted in a January 2022 assessment by the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center, which was concerned about potential cyberattacks in Ukraine, that the “number of reported incidents might increase as our investigation proceeds.”

When it comes to dealing with cyberattacks, prevention is essential.

According to Schutte, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones should all be equipped with an anti-virus or anti-malware application that is routinely updated. Malware is a typical approach used by hackers to attack computer systems with viruses and other malware. These code snippets are frequently used to infect, steal, and erase information from computers.

According to Kritika Roy, a threat researcher based at the German Cyber Security Organization (DCSO), appropriate “cyber hygiene” is essential for enterprises seeking to safeguard themselves against malware.

This contains a set of procedures that guarantee that data is handled and safeguarded in the proper manner.

These principles can be included in a cybersecurity policy that is tailored to the needs of the enterprise. Protocols such as standards for passwords used on the network, encryption for critical emails, and two-factor authentication methods should all be included in the policy, among other things.

In order to “create resilience inside their system,” users should store backup data in places that are unavailable from the standard data management system, according to Roy.

The hosting of information in a physical data centre and a cloud data centre for an enterprise are examples of what this may encompass. An individual may want to think about using cloud data storage in addition to a hard drive for increased protection.

An information technology army

Ukraine is also introducing new steps to raise the overall level of national cybersecurity in the country. His Excellency, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and minister for digital transformation, declared on the 26th February 2022 the establishment of an information technology army to guard against hackers and unleash counterattacks.

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