The Russian invasion of Ukraine increases the risk of wiper malware spilling over to the US and our education infrastructure. You may remember NotPetya, which caused billions of dollars of downtime damage. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that Symantec observed wiper malware was put in motion just hours before Russian tanks arrived in Ukraine.
The WSJ said: “The wiper malware—this version is being called HermeticWiper by researchers—could mark an escalation in cyberattacks against various Ukrainian targets, security experts said. Websites of government agencies and banks were disrupted on Wednesday, and on Thursday, that of the Kyiv Post, an English-language newspaper.”
“On Wednesday, Slovakia-based cyber firm ESET said it also detected the wiper strain on hundreds of machines in Ukraine, adding that timestamps indicated the malware had been created nearly two months ago in preparation for deployment.”
The WSJ noted that “On Thursday morning, CISA Director Jen Easterly tweeted a Wired magazine article on the 2017 NotPetya hack, which emanated from a Ukrainian accounting firm and caused billions in lost sales and other damage to businesses including FedEx Corp. and Merck & Co. Inc.”
“While there are no specific threats to the U.S. at this time, all orgs (including school districts) must be prepared for cyberattacks, whether targeted or not,” Ms. Easterly wrote.
So, Tech Reformers strongly recommends to:
- Make sure your backups work and test your restore function, not for just files but whole servers
- Patch all known vulnerabilities and test the patches
- Deploy strong MFA to as many employees as you can (some MFA can be easily circumvented)
- Step all employees through at least a 15-minute security awareness training module to keep them on their toes with security top of mind
Also, warn your staff: cybercriminals will start new, devious charity campaigns that claim to help people in Ukraine. Be prepared for the wiper malware.