Ukraine war: US city placed on 'ultra-high alert' as officials warn of 'increased risk' of Russian attack
NEW York City has been placed on “ultra-high-alert” as officials warn that there’s an increased risk of a Russian cyberattack amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The US has already hit Vladimir Putin's regime with a raft of tough economic sanctions and reports claim that President Biden is set to strengthen the measures by banning Russian oil imports.
Officials at the New York Police Department have found no credible cybersecurity threats in the city so far.
New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Monday: “Following the sanctions that the US and our allies have levied on Russia, there’s an increased risk that Russia will carry out retaliatory cyberattacks, particularly against New York state infrastructure and individuals.”
NYC's Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser warned: “We deter a significant number of threats per day.”
He said there have currently been no “compromises” worth noting.
While John Miller, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism, said the threat to critical infrastructure in the city is “always high”.
He claimed Russia increases its activity in cyberattacks when tensions between Moscow and Washington rise.
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Miller acknowledged there’s a “heightened threat” but said officials have been preparing for it.
Professor Scheherazade Rehman, director of the European Union Research Center (EURC), told The Sun that a cyberattack was "highly likely" should the crisis escalate.
She said: “A US response would probably set off what we believe will be the world’s first large-scale cyber war."
Fears of a cyberattack were raised in January when a Homeland Security memo warned that the US was on “heightened alert”.
Hackers, suspected to be linked to Russia, have carried out several attacks against the US in recent months.
The Colonial Pipeline – which normally transports 2.5million barrels of gas a day – was shut down on April 29 after it was hacked by the Russian criminal group DarkSide.
The attack crippled fuel delivery for several days in the southeastern United States.
The meatpacking firm JBS also fell victim to a cyberattack, affecting production at its pork plants in Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, and Colorado in May.
In 2020, Kremlin spies hacked Microsoft and infiltrated a US nuclear weapons stockpile as part of a nine-month "virtual invasion" by Moscow.
Hackers used various techniques, including the corruption of updates from network management app SolarWinds.
Biden is set to ban oil imports in response to the invasion by Russian forces.
The White House said the commander-in-chief is to announce “actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine”.
Washington is working in close consultation with its allies that are more dependent on energy from Moscow.
The conflict has entered its 13th day as Russian forces continue to bomb cities in eastern and central Ukraine and shelled suburbs of Kyiv.
Ukraine's defense ministry said at least 400 people have been killed and millions have fled the besieged nation.
Kyiv claims that Russia has lost 12,000 troops and more than 2,000 army vehicles – but US intelligence says the figure is around the 4,500 mark.
Biden last week issued a stark warning to Putin during his State of the Union speech.
The commander in chief told lawmakers: “Throughout our history, we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,”
“They keep moving. And, the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.”
He said Putin tried to “shake the very foundation of the free world”, but “badly miscalculated” his strategy.
Biden branded Russian oligarchs “corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime” as he revealed the Justice Department is launching an investigative task force.
He vowed: “We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”
And, he declared that both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are joined “with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny”.
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