The cyber defense organization of the UK government issued a warning on Wednesday regarding an increasing danger posed by hackers sympathetic to Russia and its conflict with Ukraine towards critical national assets in the West.
According to NBC News, the groups that emerged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are more driven by ideology than financial gain, and they present a potential threat to vital infrastructure systems in Western nations, particularly those that are inadequately secured, according to an alert released on Wednesday by the UK’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC).
“Although these groups can align to Russia’s perceived interests, they are often not subject to formal state control, and so their actions are less constrained, and they’re targeting broader than traditional cyber crime actors,” said the NCSC alert.
“This makes them less predictable.”
According to the agency, these groups are likely to concentrate on identifying critical infrastructure systems that are inadequately secured in order to cause disruptions.
Threat actors who pose a risk include not only groups directly sponsored by the Russian government but also hacktivists who are supportive of Russia.
The Guardian reports that the UK Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden will issue a national alert to critical businesses as there is growing international concern that an under-pressure Kremlin while struggling in Ukraine, is seeking new ways to threaten the West.
Earlier this month, a US intelligence that leaked warned that Russian hackers had allegedly seized control systems of a Canadian gas pipeline in February with the intention of causing an explosion.
Recently, numerous highly classified U.S. intelligence documents were posted online, including one marked as “Top Secret,” which cautioned that a pro-Russia hacking group called “Zarya” had breached networks in Canada’s gas infrastructure.
As per the reviewed copy of the “Top Secret” document by Reuters, the group presented screenshots to Russia’s FSB officers as evidence of their capability to “increase valve pressure, disable alarms, and initiate an emergency shutdown of an unspecified gas distribution station.“