U.S. Government Issues Warning of Threat Against U.S. Critical Infrastructure

On February 25, 2022, in light of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and months of continuing Russian state-sponsored cyberattacks on Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure organizations, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a “Shields Up” warning to American critical infrastructure organizations and businesses, stating that “[e]very organization—large and small—must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber activity.”  While the guidance states that there are no specific, credible cyber threats directed at the United States, it notes that Russian threat actors have been orchestrating denial of service and destructive malware attacks affecting Ukraine and its neighboring countries, and that such activities may spread to the United States and its NATO allies in what is a rapidly evolving scenario.

CISA recommends all organizations to adopt a heightened posture with respect to their cybersecurity protocols and protection of their most critical assets.  Specifically, CISA advises that companies stay vigilant and well-informed about threats and cyberattacks and adopt best practices such as ensuring all software is updated, multi-factor authentication is enabled, and data has been backed up.  CISA has encouraged businesses to sign up for its free Cyber Hygiene Services, which includes vulnerability scanning measures.  CISA has also suggested lowering reporting thresholds and empowering organizations’ chief information security officers to be involved in the decision-making process in light of the heightened threat environment.

See the “Shields Up” warning for additional details and recommendations.

See also our prior post in Data Matters, U.S. and Foreign Cybersecurity and Intelligence Agencies Recommend Measures to Counteract Threat of Russian Cyberattacks.

This post is as of the posting date stated above. Sidley Austin LLP assumes no duty to update this post or post about any subsequent developments having a bearing on this post.