Russian invasion raises concerns about cyber attacks

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 7:41 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Russian’s invasion of Ukraine is already prompting warnings across the U.S. urging everyone to be vigilant and on alert for cyber attacks.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security started issuing warnings long before the invasion of Ukraine, but that is now heightened.

We might think, we’re in Northeast Wisconsin, what do Russian hackers care about us? Cyber security experts say they do and the attacks may not look like you’d expect.

“We are collectively being targeted in the information space,” cyber security expert Dave Schroeder said.

Schroeder knows well just how vulnerable we all can be to a cyber attack. We’ve talked with him in his role as a cyber warfare officer with the Wisconsin National Guard.

He’s giving us insight as a cyber expert who conducts national security research. He gives this example of how a hack could hit anyone, even our news operation.

“Let’s say... someone within your organization falls victim to a phishing attack and that all of a sudden they’re able to potentially take over the social media manager’s account for your Twitter or your web or whatever and then put out a false story. I mean, the damage is done when those things get out.”

While we’ve heard about ransomware and attacks on major businesses in recent years. Hackers usually say they want money. While they do, Schroeder says that’s not really their target.

“It’s not really after money. It is after shutting down whatever that business organization sector is... to cause chaos.”

Chaos is the key there. Schroeder says while there are phishing attacks and attempts to click on links or attachments that open the gateway for hackers to access your systems, it’s also just as much about spreading misinformation and creating confusion and mistrust.

Scheoder says we should all be alert for cyber attacks -- not just now but in the days and weeks ahead.

“Always be questioning. Where is it coming from? Who’s behind it? What is it that the author or creator of that content trying to get me to think or believe?” Schroeder says. “We need to wait for for actual journalists and experts to unfold this situation and explain what’s going on. Unfortunately, that takes time. And you know, time is on Russia’s side right now.”

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