HONOLULU — As the global response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensifies, U.S. Rep. Ed Case is warning Hawaii governmental agencies, businesses and residents to be vigilant and prepare for potential cyberattacks.
Case last week attended a security briefing by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas, FBI Director Christopher Wray and other national law enforcement and cybersecurity experts regarding the heightened threat of cyberattacks by Russian-affiliated operations.
“The bottom line is that we should fully expect and prepare for Russia and individuals and entities associated with Russia to engage in cyber warfare across the world, as they are already doing in Ukraine and have done in our country and elsewhere in the world and as we pursue our critical response through sanctions and other means,” Case said.
“This is just as true in Hawai’i as anywhere else in our country,” he said. “For although we may be physically located on the other side of the world and far from the actual war, cyberattacks do not care about physical locations.”
Case emphasized that the scope of disruptive cyber operations would not necessarily be limited to obvious targets.
“We should also not assume that the targets are just governments and businesses with key infrastructure roles,” Case said. “The intent of cyberwarfare is to disrupt economies and societies across a broad range and so nobody is immune.”
The situation may also provide opportunities for others not necessarily in support of Russia, but include “other countries, organizations and individuals who may take the opportunity to conduct their own attacks.”
Case advised organizations and individuals to follow basic cyber-security precautions:
- Update antivirus and anti-spyware software and operating systems to their latest versions.
- Avoid clicking unknown links in emails
- Enable and use multifactor authentication (MFA) wherever possible.
- Never give your password to anyone, and do not reuse passwords across multiple sites.
- Turn unused devices all the way on and off once a day
- If you are not sure about an email, link, or attachment you have received, save it as an attachment and send it to your IT department or to the FBI for analysis.
Anyone who experiences a cyberattack or recognizes unusual activity, contact the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s SHIELDS UP program at 888-282-0870 or cisa.gov/shields-up. Reports may also be directed to the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or ic3.gov.
“Unfortunately, this is the reality of instability and conflict in a modern world so dependent on technology,” Case said.