FBI Warns US Authorities of Possible Russian Cyberattack Tied to Ukraine Invasion

On January 14, 2022 the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the country's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) informed different US authorities about the possibility of a Russian cyberattack directed at them, as a collateral to a possible invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.

High Cyber Alert Across the US

The warning came in a conference call conducted by US cybersecurity experts and was directed towards different US government agencies, both on the state and federal levels. Along with this warning, the security advisors also instructed those agencies to start reporting suspicious activity much more actively and start doing so at a much lower threshold.

The US appears convinced that Russian forces are going to make a move into Ukraine, with the US embassy in the country's capital being closed and diplomats being relocated to a location in the western part of the country. American officials believe an impending invasion of Ukraine will likely start with bombing and missile launches, combined with "cyber operations".

When Yahoo News contacted people who were part of the conference call, reporters found that many people did not know what exactly to do and how to act in general in case they detected suspicious activity on their networks. According to US officials, there is currently an increase of Russian scanning of American government organization networks and all personnel should operate at a heightened state of attention. The experts expect a possible cyber push on part of Russia to begin before an actual military offensive.

State of Flux Along Ukraine’s Border

Call participants were collectively instructed to report even the most insignificant instances of suspicious activity on their networks. Even though the official bulletins from the FBI and DHS state that attacks of different types are to be expected, the US believes Russia's "threshold for conducting disruptive or destructive cyberattacks" on US soil is still "very high".

Despite all this, the experts also think that a possible escalation of the situation in Ukraine might influence Russia's actions and possible future cyber activity targeting America.

Meanwhile, while the situation along Ukraine's border is still in flux, international news agencies and the BBC reported just hours ago that Russia is withdrawing a portion of its troops stationed close to the border, giving NATO grounds to view the situation with "cautious optimism".