Downing raises alarm on cybersecurity

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Downing raises alarm on cybersecurity | Western News (thewesternnews.com)

By DERRICK PERKINS
Editor | March 1, 2022 7:00 AM

The state commissioner of securities and insurance last week warned business owners to prepare for cyberattacks in the wake of sanctions levied on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

“The United States and our allies have announced economic sanctions against Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine,” said Commissioner Troy Downing in a statement. “As a result, the risk of retaliatory cyberattacks against critical infrastructure and American economic interests by the Russian government has intensified.”

Downing said thus far federal law enforcement had not identified any credible threats. But that could change, he said. Downing warned that attacks could come from the Russian government or state-sponsored groups.

Businesses, particularly those in the securities and insurance industries, should take steps to guard against cyber incursions. Companies in the aforementioned industries, Downing said, should move to protect assets as well as the confidential information of their clients.

Just getting insurance for cyber attacks isn’t enough, he said.

“Companies with cyber insurance must remember these policies are not a replacement for cybersecurity,” Downing said. “In the event of a cyber or ransomware attack, the policy may not cover all the costs associated. Most cyber plans also include ‘war’ exclusions, meaning your claim could be denied if a state actor perpetrates the attack.”

Downing’s warnings echo those made by federal officials. FBI cyber officials asked businesses as well as local and state governments to prepare for ransomware attacks last week, according to CNN.

While cybersecurity has long been a concern for federal officials, the attack on the Colonial Pipeline last year has heightened those fears, CNN reported. The Department of Homeland Security told the news network that it likewise was working with the private and public sectors to defend against attacks.