With rising tensions related to the Ukraine crisis, the European Central Bank is preparing banks for a possible Russian-sponsored cyber attack, according to two people familiar with the situation, as the continent prepared for the financial consequences of any conflict.
The standoff between Russia and Ukraine has alarmed Europe’s political and commercial elites, who fear a regional invasion that would cause havoc.
Following Russia’s massing of troops near Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron flew from Moscow to Kyiv earlier this week in an attempt to act as a mediator.
According to reports, the European Central Bank, which is managed by former French minister Christine Lagarde and oversees Europe’s largest lenders, is now on high alert for cyberattacks on banks launched from Russia.
While the ECB had been focusing on common scams that arose during the epidemic, the Ukraine situation has shifted its focus to cyber attacks perpetrated from Russia, according to one of the sources, who also stated that the ECB has questioned banks about their defenses.
According to the individual, banks were holding cyber war games to evaluate their abilities to fend off an attack.
The ECB, which has made resolving cybersecurity vulnerabilities one of its top goals, did not respond to a request for comment from the media.
Its worries are shared by people all throughout the world.
According to Thomson Reuters’ Regulatory Intelligence, the New York Department of Financial Services issued an advisory to financial institutions in late January, warning of retaliatory cyber strikes if Russia invaded Ukraine and triggered US sanctions.
After Russia placed over 100,000 troops near the border with its former Soviet neighbor, the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom cautioned Putin frequently not to attack Ukraine.
Earlier this year, a cyberattack on various Ukrainian websites left a message urging people to “be terrified and expect the worst” because Russia has gathered forces on Ukraine’s borders.
The SBU, Ukraine’s state security service, claimed it observed indicators that the attack was related to Russian intelligence-affiliated cyber gangs.
Russian leaders claim that the West is afflicted by Russophobia and that it has no right to teach Moscow on how to act after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and NATO advanced eastwards.
The Kremlin has also disputed that the Russian government is involved in global hacking and has stated that it is willing to work with the US and other countries to combat cybercrime.
Nonetheless, European regulators are on heightened alert.
The National Cyber Security Centre of the United Kingdom has issued a warning to significant businesses to strengthen their cyber security resilience as tensions over Ukraine escalate.
Cyberwarfare is intertwined with geopolitics and security, according to Mark Branson, the chairman of German supervisor BaFin, who spoke at an online conference on Tuesday.
The White House has also blamed Russia for the deadly ‘NotPetya’ cyber assault in 2017, in which a virus devastated elements of Ukraine’s infrastructure, causing thousands of computers in dozens of nations to go offline.
Last year, one of the world’s largest-yet hacking efforts used a U.S. tech business as a springboard to infiltrate a slew of U.S. government institutions, an attack blamed on Russia’s foreign intelligence services by the White House.
The attack targeted SolarWinds Corp. software, providing hackers access to thousands of organizations that use the company’s products. The attack reverberated across Europe, with Denmark’s central bank claiming that the country’s “financial infrastructure” had been compromised.
Some, on the other hand, believe the Ukraine issue has been exaggerated. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has accused the US and the media of fomenting fear.
(Adapted from USNews.com)