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Concerns About Increasing American Cyberattacks As Sanctions Are Issued Against Russia

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As the Biden administration continues to issue sanctions against Russia, there's growing concern about large-scale cyberattacks putting Americans at risk.

"The way these attacks can be targeted, with their capabilities, we can experience not just disruption but loss of life," Cyber Defense Labs President Jason Cook said.

He said Russian criminal hackers are highly skilled and impose a serious threat to Americans.

"They're targeting on a wider sense national infrastructure, critical national infrastructure," Cook said. "So think anything that provides you with energy whether it's coming from the ground or distribution system and including things like water systems."

Last month, The Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency issued a "Shields Up" advisory encouraging for all organizations regardless of size to take steps to reduce their chances of a cyberattack.

"They're asking businesses to do their part because even if you think that you're not vulnerable, if you have an IP address you are being targeted," Vistrada Director of Cyber Security Matt Malone said. "You are being scanned as we speak."

"You have to think about what happens if something fails?" UTD Professor of Computer Science Dr. Murat Kantarcioglu said. "How do I recover my business? How am I going to make things work tomorrow?"

He said companies should have their networks checked to make sure criminals haven't already entered them, make sure all software is up-to-date, have backups available and educate employees on best practices.

Employees need to use two-factor authentication, should never click on suspicious links and if something seems off, don't be afraid to alert management.

"It's all about planning and it's all putting the right safeguards and to right measures in place to recover from an attack," Kantarcioglu said.

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