Should you be worried about cyber-attacks from Russia?

The world is on high alert – make sure you’re prepared and protected

As the Russia-Ukraine war continues to escalate, cybersecurity attacks have become a very real threat around the world. Should you be worried about these new cyber-attacks? The simple answer is, yes. Although the motives of the current attacks may be political, it is possible they could spread and affect businesses, organizations, and individuals around the world.

In this article we’ll outline what’s happening and tell you how to best protect your data.

A new type of malware

A report published in February 2022 by cyber intelligence agencies in the UK and USA has attributed Cyclops Blink, a new malware, to a Russia-backed hacking group. The research warned that a Russian hacker group known as Sandworm is behind this new type of malware which can, “allow Sandworm to remotely access networks.” The virus can withstand typical remedies including reboots and is described in the report as, “a highly sophisticated piece of malware.”

A history of Russia-based cyber-attacks

Fears of cyber warfare are stoked by a long history of attacks coordinated out of Russia:

  • A large-scale attack on Ukraine’s power grid in 2015 in coordination with the annexation of Crimea.
  • In 2017 the data-wiping NotPetya virus first targeted Ukraine then spread globally.
  • Russia-based hackers have been linked to the 2021 ransomware hack of the Colonial Pipeline in the US.
  • Most recently, coinciding with its invasion of Ukraine, Russia “almost certainly” unleashed a number of hacks targeting Ukrainian websites, and disabling government websites, including the ministry of foreign affairs and the education ministry.

Advice from the UK National Cyber Security Centre

In response to the current high-level alert for cyber-attacks, the National Cyber Security Centre has published this recommendation:The most important thing for organisations of all sizes is to make sure that the fundamentals of cyber security are in place to protect their devices, networks and systems. This is important under all circumstances but critical during periods of heightened cyber threat.”  The guide also contains steps to take in order to protect your data and networks.

How to protect your data

What can you do to protect your data? Vitanium is experienced in this area and has already published several free guides to data security and backup as well as step-by-step “How To” guides for specific devices, which you can find in the Resources section of our website. Overall, our strong recommendation is – take the following steps to cover basic security:

  • Patch management is vital – keep your devices and software up to date.
  • Antivirus – spam filters and virus filters.
  • Cyber security awareness training for all staff.
  • Device encryption.
  • Use Password Managers.
  • Enable Two Factor Authentication where available.
  • Apply the Least Privilege Principal in terms of who needs access.
  • Carry out regular backups.
  • Undertake a data audit.
  • Test your backups and build in a restore test schedule into any strategy.

You can read more about how to cover basic data security in our article here.

Data Audits

Our Technical Director, Paul Houselander also strongly suggests, “Everyone should do a thorough data audit, then act on it.”

A data audit will give you a clear picture of what data you’re protecting, how you’re protecting it, how you can recover it, and whether you are testing and securing this data with the right policies and procedures. Every company should also be aware of their Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) to ensure they can get back to work as quickly as possible. You can read Paul’s blog about how to improve your data audits and backup plans here.

How can Vitanium help?

Quite simply, we can help you protect your data. Let us manage your data protection, backup, and recovery, so you can get on with managing your business.

We can implement ransomware protection facilitated by our technology partners, Zadara, and Veeam. This provides you with immutability – the capability to safeguard your files and ensure they cannot be deleted in case of a ransomware attacks. We’ve also been implementing data backup solutions for customers for over 15 years, creating bespoke solutions to ensure you get maximum protection. If you want expert advice using trusted technology partners, then get in touch.

Whatever your data needs, we can find the right solution for you.

If you’d like further information on how best to protect your data, give us a call on 44 (0)345 258 1500 and we’ll be happy to advise you. Or use our Contact Page – Vitanium