Putin is directing attacks on the US through cyberspace. Here’s how companies can stay safe

For Russia as we speak, previous is prologue. 

The KGB was the vanguard of the Soviet Union. The Cold War was all about cloak and dagger espionage. Russian president Vladimir Putin served in the KGB and later as Director of Russia’s ruthless FSB safety police. It ought to due to this fact come as no shock that he is directing full throttled attacks on the U.S. in the unregulated, wide-open, man-made area of our on-line world, which has turn out to be the spine infrastructure of twenty first century commerce and free expression.

The Kremlin permits legal cyber hacking teams like DarkSide and REvil to homestead on its territory. 

In April 2021 DarkSide launched a cyber assault on Colonial Pipeline, the largest gasoline pipeline in the U.S., which was compelled to close down its community for days.  DarkSide hacked into the community utilizing a compromised password, encrypted recordsdata to disclaim Colonial Pipeline directors entry, and extorted the firm with a 5 million greenback bitcoin ransom cost to revive service.


REvil performed a damaging cyber assault in May 2021 in opposition to JBS, the world’s largest meat processing firm.  REvil struck once more in July with a provide chain ransomware assault on Kaseya, which led to the compromise of over 1000 companies.

Most lately, Russian Intelligence, well-known for hacking U.S. social media, the Democratic National Committee, and Secretary Clinton’s electronic mail server, penetrated SolarWinds working techniques and unfold malware into its “Orion” safety software program, through which Russia gained a backdoor into SolarWinds’ 30,000 clients’ info expertise techniques, together with main Fortune 500 companies.   The Kremlin stole protected info from a panoply of personal sector and U.S. authorities companies. 

 The aim for as we speak’s New Moscow Rules is to mitigate danger, whereas with the ability to take pleasure in all the business and different advantages of working and residing in our on-line world.   

During the Cold War, CIA officers devised a set of “Moscow Rules”, which referred to the subtle tradecraft they used behind enemy traces to conduct espionage in opposition to the Soviet evil empire.   


Key to the Cold War Moscow Rules was seeing the world through the eyes of the enemy.  In as we speak’s world, meaning understanding the technique and techniques of the risk actors.  The aim for as we speak’s New Moscow Rules is to mitigate danger, whereas with the ability to take pleasure in all the business and different advantages of working and residing in our on-line world.   

First rule: Know the opposition and their terrain intimately.  Just like the Intelligence Officers who ran surveillance detection routes in Moscow to find out whether or not they had a KGB tail, the greatest time to identify the hackers and different malicious actors is when they’re in the pre-attack surveillance part.  Cyber attacks don’t happen from a chilly begin with out pre-planning and signatures.  Proactively plugging into networks and chat rooms the place attacks are being deliberate in addition to and utilizing cognitive computing to sift through the huge knowledge permits assortment on the enemy’s assault plans.  


Rallying safety, human assets, managers, and IT stakeholders to make sure as a lot info is collected and shared on vulnerability and risk knowledge, leads to the simplest countermeasures.  Employees ought to have a safe channel for reporting social engineering and technical attacks.  

Second rule: Do not rely solely on expertise. Enterprises ought to harden their defenses by decreasing weak assault house with safe routers and servers; firewalls and complicated internet codes; rigorously software of each patches and back-up protocols; and knowledge encryption. 

But people, aka “the pores and skin behind the keyboard,” beat expertise each time. Despite having all the technical instruments accessible, with out coaching the workforce on cyber-hygiene greatest practices, enterprises can be weak to attacks.


Enterprises ought to have a strong and clear insider risk program to cope with cyber threats ensuing from each unwitting workers who require coaching to counter hackers and malicious workers with sick intent.   

Third rule: Always assume you’re compromised (which implies you will have already been hacked).   Enterprises ought to have a enterprise continuity technique and an information restoration plan, which incorporates functioning offline in the occasion of a catastrophic insider or exterior ransomware assault.  These varieties of attacks require proactive planning.

Russia is certainly not the solely state actor ruthlessly attacking the U.S. in cyber-space.  But the Kremlin’s ubiquitous hacking operations do rely on the most subtle and treacherous tradecraft.  

Effective cyber safety means recognizing when your conduct makes you weak to assault and hardening your whole cyber defenses accordingly. Incorporating greatest apply New Moscow Rules is meant to defend in opposition to not solely Russia but in addition adversaries like China, Iran, and North Korea, to not point out company opponents and criminals teams.

Shawnee Delaney was a Clandestine Officer and former Detachment Chief for the Defense Intelligence Agency and IT Specialist for the Department of Homeland Security for 10 years. She is a topic professional on insider risk and is the CEO of Vaillance Group.

Daniel N. Hoffman has been a Fox News contributor since May 2018. Before becoming a member of Fox News, Hoffman had a distinguished profession with the Central Intelligence Agency, the place he was a three-time Station Chief and a senior govt Clandestine Services Oofficer. Follow him on Twitter @danielhoffmanDC.


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