SALT LAKE CITY — There are growing concerns that what’s going on in Ukraine could spill over across the world- particularly when it comes to disrupting businesses, utilities, and other targets through cyber-attacks.
FOX 13 News spoke to the Special Agent in Charge at the Salt Lake City Division of the FBI, Dennis Rice who said cybersecurity attacks from Russia are a real threat.
Rice explained every organization, big or small needs to have a plan on how to respond to disruptive cyber activity.
“We are very concerned that Russia is going to attack us at some point if they haven’t already, they could very well be on someone’s network and you might not know it,” said Rice.
With our reliance and connectivity online only growing, the ability for governments and non-state actors to cause massive problems via cyber-attacks is a very real and potentially deadly strategy.
“I think we’re a target regardless of the Ukraine situation, we’re always going to be a target,” said Rice.
Rice says the agency has been proactive with putting out information to private sector partners to protect their networks.
“This is some of the malware we’re seeing, these are some of the digital signatures, these are indicators of compromise IP addresses. That way their IT folks can run through their networks, and ask are we seeing this?” said Rice.
Eric Talbott Jensen, a professor of law at BYU says Russia has used cyber tools in the past to create drastic effects to Ukraine, like shutting down power plants in the winter.
“Russia has a past history, they’re very capable, very effective at doing this, and they have certainly shown that they are also very willing to do this,” said Jensen.
“How is it going to impact you the average citizen, if your local police, fire, or EMS gets impacted by ransomware and they can’t respond to a call? Or a hospital can’t use some kind of equipment because the network is shut down and it’s a lifesaving piece of equipment. I think that’s where people are going to understand how significant it is,” said Rice.
Experts recommend you practice cyber hygiene, like updating your protections on your computer. Rice says in many cases these malwares are effective is because people haven’t taken action to keep their computers safe.
If you are the victim of a cyber-attack, you are encouraged to report it. The FBI says the more data they have, the better as they continue to fight this growing problem.
If you want to file a complaint for any internet-related crime, you can do so online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.