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Future cyberattacks on Ukraine may seek to destabilise the country, disrupt information flow, or undermine the population’s will to fight. Several noteworthy cyberattacks have already occurred in Ukraine.

 

Summary:

  • On January 15th 2022, Microsoft released information of a destructive malware, called Whispergate, that had hit several Ukraine-based government, nonprofit and IT organisations. Hackers had also targeted Canada’s diplomatic and external affairs agency.
  • The malware has similarities with the 2017 malware NotPetya, which was also destructive malware disguised as ransomware.
  • Accenture identified three state-sponsored hacker groups that are most active in Ukraine: Sandfish (responsible for the NotPetya attacks), Winterflounder (targeted the Ukraine government), and Walleye (targeting intelligence missions against state institutions).
  • How can companies mitigate the cyber threat stemming from geopolitical tensions?
  • Current guidance and commentary suggest that companies should be more alert to anomalies in their networks. Beyond that, Accenture suggests a few high-priority tactical mitigations:
    • Patching externally-facing infrastructure
    • Audit domain controllers for specific logging requests
    • Having an incident response retainer in place 
    • Treating malware detections with highpriority
    • Test and conduct backup procedures
  • In addition, the article provides strategic mitigations, such as monitoring administrator accounts or segmentation of IT and OT networks. 

 

Why does this matter for businesses?

 

  • Although these threat actors mainly target organisations in Ukraine, spillover from the attacks could affect organisations outside of the initial target sets.
  • Companies are encouraged to operate on high alert. State-sponsored cyberattacks will likely be visible in private companies first.

 

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