Professor Ciaran Martin, the former head of the National Cyber Security Centre, explained the ways that Russia‘s cyberspies will use to lurk on network systems to watch their enemies. Prof Martin also warned that in a time of escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia, we can expect to see much more sophisticated spying, although there is a wide range of ways to do so. The expert then went on to warn that if the disagreement between both countries gets worse, there could be potential repercussions for the UK.
Prof Martin said: “Well, there are a whole range of cyber attacks ranging from sort of common petty criminality which sometimes you hear about when they cause disruption.
“But a country like Russia can do very sophisticated attacks in several ways.
“It will do very sophisticated spying and you can expect that all the time, particularly at the time of tension.
He continued: “Now that can involve commercial interests as well as Government interests.
“Russia does something, it’s called pre-positioning, it’s just a technical term for lurking in networks, and if tensions get worse they can perhaps exploit those.
“So there’s a full sort of range, a full spectrum of cyber attacks ranging from the very basic to the quite sophisticated.
“And they are at it all the time, but they’re at it for particular reasons.
Prof Martin added: “And as things potentially get worse, and hopefully they don’t but if they do we have to be prepared.
“And there will be severe cyber activity against Ukraine and that has potential repercussions for us.”
Government minister for cyber security Stephen Barclay MP told the Express: “We know that public bodies in the UK can be the targets of cyber-attacks because of the personal and financial data they hold.”
“Of course, it is not just the public sector that has come under attack.
“We are seeing a rapid rise in consumer-focussed scams and attacks on businesses and we have seen the impact that cyber-attacks have had on our international partners.”
“We all have a part to play in ensuring the UK is the most resilient country in the world to cyber-attacks: by reading NCSC guidance, reporting attacks and remaining vigilant.”
When asked about the possible Russian threat on UK cyber security, NCSC director of operations Paul Chichester said: “While we are unaware of any specific cyber threats to UK organisations in relation to events in Ukraine, we are monitoring the situation closely and it is vital that organisations follow the guidance to ensure they are resilient.
“Over several years, we have observed a pattern of malicious Russian behaviour in cyberspace.
“Last week’s incidents in Ukraine bear the hallmarks of similar Russian activity we have observed before.”