What the Tech: Threat of possible Russian cyberattacks

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 5:59 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - U.S. Intelligence suggests a cyberattack by Russia is a real threat that could come at any time.

President Biden urges businesses and institutions to increase their security to thwart attacks targeting the power grid and banks.

Here’s how Russia could use personal computers, just like yours. We’ve heard for more than a month of an imminent cyber attack. Nothing, at least as far as we know, has happened yet.

U.S. Intelligence and cyber-security experts report they’ve seen evidence of Russian hackers actively looking for entryways into our energy and banking networks.

Entryways could be through someone’s personal computer.

“I think it’s a clear and present danger for us now,” said Rick Holland.

We spoke with the chief information security officer at Digital Shadows, Rick Holland who told us we shouldn’t panic but prepare.

“They may target someone that works at a bank. They may target someone who works at one of these energy companies and compromise their personal account,” he said.

Which is easier than you expect. Last year’s cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, was the result of a single compromised password.

For the past two-plus years, many employees of regional power companies and banks were forced to work remotely.

Some may have used a personal computer for work or used a work computer to check social media or personal email. Holland says Americans should take steps now.

Windows released an urgent update with security patches a few weeks ago. Make sure it’s installed.

Don’t use the same passwords for social media that you use for bank and credit card companies or payments to utility companies.

“You wouldn’t want the machine you use at home or an account you use to somehow be used in a larger campaign for cybercriminals or Russia or another state actor,” said Holland.

The Department of Defense warns tens of thousands of computers across the country may be already infected with malware, ready to unleash an attack by someone in Russia simply pressing the enter key on their computer.

The more desperate Putin becomes, the more likely he’ll resort to cyberattacks on the U.S.

Ukraine says it stopped a Russian-led cyber-security attack on its critical infrastructure just days ago. They say the attack would have knocked out power to two million people.

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