Russia May Employ Cyberattacks For Destablisation, US Warns

Russian internet © Pavel Ignatov Shutterstock 2012

American deputy national security advisor issues Russia cyber warning, during visit to her European counterparts on Wednesday

A high ranking US official has issued a clear warning to her European counterparts about Russia’s cyber intentions, amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

US deputy national security advisor Anne Neuberger, who is responsible for cyber and emerging technology, said Wednesday that Russia could use cyberattacks as part of its efforts to destabilise and further invade Ukraine, Reuters reported.

She made the comments whilst meeting European Union and NATO officials in Brussels to discuss the threat of cyber attacks against Ukraine by Russia.

Ukraine - Shutterstock - © Mykhaylo Palinchak

US warning

Last week the Brtain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a blunt warning to UK organisations to take action to bolster their cyber security resilience in response to the malicious cyber incidents in and around Ukraine.

Russia has amassed over 120,000 troops on the Ukraine border amid a tense standoff over Russian concerns about NATO expansion.

Russia of course has invaded Ukraine previously, when it illegally seized and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Amid the tense stand-off, Ukraine suffered a massive cyberattack last month that impacted at least 70 government websites, as well as the US, UK and Swedish embassies.

“We’ve been warning for weeks and months, both publicly and privately” of potential attacks, Neuberger told a virtual news conference.

“The Russians have used cyber as a key component of their force projection over the last decade, including previously in Ukraine,” Neuberger said.

German attack

Earlier this week it emerged that the the IT systems associated with the automation of the tank loading/unloading of a German fuel supplier have been crippled by a cyberattack.

Oiltanking GmbH and Mabanaft GmbH, an oil supplier, have been impacted, both of whom are subsidiaries of the Marquard & Bahls group.

Oiltanking GmbH supplies the 1,995 Shell gas stations in Germany, but local officials have stressed there are no fuel shortages.

Shell meanwhile on Tuesday said it was re-routing oil supplies to other depots.

Germany has become involved in the Ukraine crisis, due to Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that will double Russian gas supplies to Germany.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has therefore become a geopolitical point, with NATO and the West warning the pipeline will be impacted if Russia goes ahead and invades Ukraine.

The identity of the German fuel attackers remains unknown, but a similar attack on Colonial Pipeline in the US last year was blamed on Russia.

That attack dominated the face-to-face meeting in June 2021 between President Joe Biden and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

President Biden reportedly promised Putin ‘retaliation’ if Russia attacks a list of 16 ‘critical’ facilities in America.