DHS Warns Of Russian Cyberattacks
WASHINGTON - The Department Of Homeland Security has released an intelligence bulletin stating that Russia would consider carrying out a cyberattack on the United States homeland if Moscow deems that the written response given by the U.S. and NATO threatens Russia's 'long-term national security'.
The intelligence bulletin, which was released on January 23rd stated "Russia maintains a range of offensive cyber tools that it could employ against US networks—from low-level denials-of-service to destructive attacks targeting critical infrastructure".
According to the bulletin, the risk level for a cyberattack on the United States homeland "probably remains very high" and it stated that "[W]e have not observed Moscow directly employ these types of cyber attacks against US critical infrastructure—notwithstanding cyber espionage and potential prepositioning operations in the past".
Senator Mark Warner told CNN ""I am concerned that Russia has been using Ukraine as a sort of testing ground for its cyber capabilities. For years, I've been making the case that we need rules of the road in cyberspace, just like we have defined norms around armed conflict".
"We need to ensure that the Kremlin knows that if they were to use destructive cyberattacks against the United States, there would be serious consequences" he added.
John Hultquist who is the vice president of threat intelligence for Mandiant stated, "The crisis in Ukraine has already proven to be a catalyst for additional aggressive cyber activity that will likely increase as the situation deteriorates".
"At Mandiant, we have been anticipating this activity, and we are concerned that, unlike the recent defacements and destructive attacks, future activity will not be restricted to Ukrainian targets or the public sector" Hultquist said.
Paul Rosenweig, who is a former senior Homeland Security official, stated that the DHS Intelligence and Analysis bulletin underlines the fact that even if the U.S. attempts to help avoid a potential military conflict, the attempts may also have the potential to create more conflict .
"In a globally connected world, conflicts are no longer geographically isolated. As DHS is warning, Russia may respond to U.S. actions in support of Ukraine by using offensive cyber tools against U.S. networks" Rosenzweig said to USA TODAY.
If Russia launched a cyberattack against the United States, there is a high chance that Washington would counter the cyberattack using offensive cyberweapons in its own toolbox which could trigger an escalation that may draw the United States into direct conflict with Russia.
"That’s why the Russian attack on Ukraine is so dangerous,” Rosenzweig said. “It seems quite possible that the conflict will spin out of control – both on the ground and in the cyber universe" Rosenweig stated.
The member from the DHS also revealed that Russia has spent years targeting critical infrastructure in the United States and gaining access to it, even compromising and gaining access to U.S. energy networks since at least 2016 and conducted network reconnaissance so that they have the kind of information they need to gain control of the systems later on if they desired.
"Separately, Russian state-sponsored cyber actors have successfully compromised routers, globally, and U.S. state and local government networks, according to a CISA alert and a joint US-UK report" the DHS the intelligence bulletin stated.