The Cyber War Battlefield Has Changed
The time to improve the information security structure of your business is now; such was the gist of a speech delivered by United States President Joe Biden during the second quarterly Business Roundtable held by the White House this year.
President Biden made direct reference to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has been unfolding since February, and which was precluded by a series of major cyber attacks launched against Ukrainian military and public data platforms.
As an established adversary of the United States, the Russian Federation always looks for opportunities and excuses to conduct cyber warfare operations against American targets.
The reason President Biden is urging business owners to shore up their cyber defenses is because Russian President Vladimir Putin is known to deploy hackers for retaliatory purposes, and we know that the invasion of Ukraine has resulted in severe economic sanctions against Russia.
President Putin is not happy with the stringent sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe. He is not only out for revenge; he is also out for money, and this is a geopolitical trend that SynchroNet has been actively observing over the last two decades.
You may think to yourself: Why should I worry about my business being targeted by Russian government hackers? What would they get from breaking into the servers of my beauty supplies e-commerce store?
Civilians Are A Target of Cyber Warfare
SynchroNet information security specialists often hear the two questions above from small business owners who are not familiar with the state of cyber security in the 21st century.
When we think about cyber warfare, we envision attacks on military installations or public infrastructure facilities such as nuclear plants. We never think about the online properties of small businesses being targeted by foreign cyber warfare organizations, but this has been taking place for years. Russian hackers working for the Kremlin these days have various reasons to attack American businesses, and the most important is money.
Some of the most damaging and spectacular cyber attacks since the year 2005 have been conducted by hackers affiliated with government entities. The relationships between cybercrime groups and cyber warfare agencies can be quite convoluted, but they often rely on a mixture of coercion, patriotism, and economic rewards.
North Korea is believed to have been the first nation to actively recruit hackers for the purpose of conducting cybercrime operations on behalf of the regime; the goal was to pilfer money by any means in order to somewhat fill the empty government coffers.
Hackers Are Recruited By Government Agencies
From what we have researched and observed at SynchroNet, the way government agents first approach cybercrime groups is by letting them know that they are not invisible.
In the case of notorious hacking outfits such as Fancy Bear from Russia, the group was reportedly threatened with criminal prosecution unless leaders agreed to work with the Kremlin. Over the years, the working relationship developed in such a way that Russian law enforcement agencies turn a blind eye to the operations of Fancy Bear as long as they did not target Russian individuals or entities. Later, military handlers provided covert support to Fancy Bear by means of identifying easy targets that could yield big payouts. As can be expected, the Kremlin unofficially gets a share of the money Fancy Bear is able to generate from theft, ransomware, blackmail, or corporate espionage.
What you should know about groups such as Fancy Bear is that they utilize advanced persistent threats often developed by Russian military specialists; in other words, they operate with weapons of cyber warfare.
They will actively go after American targets because that’s what their Russian military handlers have instructed them to do. They believe that making money with the patriotic support of Mother Russia is the best thing ever to happen in the world of cybercrime.
At SynchroNet, we belief that the time to strengthen your information security is always; however, we can’t deny that the need for robust cyber defenses is more crucial now than ever. Please contact our office if you have questions or if you are in need of an IT security audit.