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Protecting Against the New Russia-Linked Cyber Threat: NCSC Issues Guidance for CNI Organizations

2 mins read

Key Takeaways:

  • The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a warning of a new Russia-linked cyber threat that poses a great threat to the UK’s critical national infrastructure.
  • The immediate threat is expected to take the form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, the spread of misinformation and website defacements, with a likelihood of larger-scale attacks to come to target critical national infrastructure.
  • It is crucial that organizations remain prepared at all times to face cyber-attacks, ensuring they have resilient cyber policies in place with the necessary preventative and reactive measures.

New Russia-Linked Cyber Threat Poses Great Risk to UK’s Critical National Infrastructure

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a warning of a new Russia-linked cyber threat that poses a great threat to the UK’s critical national infrastructure. The warning comes in the wake of a series of high-profile cyber-attacks in 2023, with the NHS, Royal Mail, and schools among the primary targets. The NCSC has indicated that hacker groups are set to launch ‘destructive and disruptive attacks’ that have ‘less predictable consequences’ than traditional threats used by cyber attackers.

Immediate Threat and Future Risks

The immediate threat is expected to take the form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, the spread of misinformation and website defacements. However, the NCSC warns that there is a likelihood of larger-scale attacks to come, targeting critical national infrastructure. The agency highlights that these attacks could have severe consequences and may have an impact on public safety.

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Achi Lewis, Area VP EMEA for Absolute Software, stated that it is crucial for organizations to remain prepared at all times to face cyber-attacks. He emphasized the need for resilient cyber policies with the necessary preventative and reactive measures, and the importance of staff training, up-to-date security software, and visibility over devices and applications on a network. Solutions that utilize secure access controls and resilient Zero Trust can provide centralised IT teams with visibility over their entire network. These systems can alert IT departments to suspicious activity, allowing them to remotely freeze or shut off devices to prevent the breach from spreading further.

Reactive Measures

Dr. Marsha Quallo-Wright, NCSC Deputy Director for Critical National Infrastructure, stressed the importance of reactive measures in the event of a successful attack. She noted that self-healing technologies that can recover endpoints so they are operational while restoring their security systems to prevent re-infection can help limit the downtime and recurring risk from cyber threats.

Advice for CNI Organizations

The NCSC has produced advice for organizations on steps to take when the cyber threat is heightened. Dr. Quallo-Wright strongly encourages all CNI organizations to follow this advice now. She also indicated that certain state-aligned groups have the intent to cause damage to CNI organizations, and it is important that the sector is aware of this.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the NCSC’s warning of the new Russia-linked cyber threat highlights the importance of organizations remaining prepared at all times to face cyber-attacks. The immediate threat takes the form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, the spread of misinformation, and website defacements, but there is a likelihood of larger-scale attacks to come. The NCSC has issued advice for organizations on steps to take when the cyber threat is heightened, and it is crucial that CNI organizations follow this advice to protect themselves from potential damage.

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