FBI TLP White Joint Cybersecurity Advisory Russian State-Sponsored and Criminal Cyber Threats to Critical Infrastructure
April 20, 2022
The cybersecurity authorities of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom are releasing this joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA). The intent of this joint CSA is to warn organizations that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could expose organizations both within and beyond the region to increased malicious cyber activity. This activity may occur as a response to the unprecedented economic costs imposed on Russia as well as materiel support provided by the United States and U.S. allies and partners.
Evolving intelligence indicates that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks (see the March 21, 2022, Statement by U.S. President Biden for more information). Recent Russian state-sponsored cyber operations have included distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and older operations have included deployment of destructive malware against Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure organizations.
Additionally, some cybercrime groups have recently publicly pledged support for the Russian government. These Russian-aligned cybercrime groups have threatened to conduct cyber operations in retaliation for perceived cyber offensives against the Russian government or the Russian people. Some groups have also threatened to conduct cyber operations against countries and organizations providing materiel support to Ukraine. Other cybercrime groups have recently conducted disruptive attacks against Ukrainian websites, likely in support of the Russian military offensive.
This advisory updates joint CSA Understanding and Mitigating Russian State-Sponsored Cyber Threats to U.S. Critical Infrastructure, which provides an overview of Russian state-sponsored cyber operations and commonly observed tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). This CSA—coauthored by U.S., Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and UK cyber authorities with contributions from industry members of the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC)—provides an overview of Russian state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) groups, Russian-aligned cyber threat groups, and Russian-aligned cybercrime groups to help the cybersecurity community protect against possible cyber threats.
U.S., Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and UK cybersecurity authorities urge critical infrastructure network defenders to prepare for and mitigate potential cyber threats—including destructive malware, ransomware, DDoS attacks, and cyber espionage—by hardening their cyber defenses and performing due diligence in identifying indicators of malicious activity. Refer to the Mitigations section of this advisory for recommended hardening actions.
For more information on Russian state-sponsored cyber activity, see CISA’s Russia Cyber Threat Overview and Advisories webpage. For more information on the heightened cyber threat to critical infrastructure organizations, see the following resources:
- Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Shields Up and Shields Up Technical Guidance webpages
- Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) Advisory Australian Organisations Should Urgently Adopt an Enhanced Cyber Security Posture.
- Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS) Cyber Threat Bulletin Cyber Centre urges Canadian critical infrastructure operators to raise awareness and take mitigations against known Russian-backed cyber threat activity
- National Cyber Security Centre New Zealand (NZ NCSC) General Security Advisory Understanding and preparing for cyber threats relating to tensions between Russia and Ukraine
- United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC-UK) guidance on how to bolster cyber defences in light of the Russian cyber threat
View the detailed report below.
U.S. organizations: to report suspicious or criminal activity related to information found in this Joint Cybersecurity Advisory, contact CISA’s 24/7 Operations Center at email@example.com or (888) 282-0870 and/or to the FBI via your local FBI field office at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices, or the FBI’s 24/7 Cyber Watch (CyWatch) at (855) 292-3937 or by email at CyWatch@fbi.gov. When available, please include the following information regarding the incident: date, time, and location of the incident; type of activity; number of people affected; type of equipment used for the activity; the name of the submitting company or organization; and a designated point of contact. For NSA client requirements or general cybersecurity inquiries, contact the Cybersecurity Requirements Center at 410-854-4200 or Cybersecurity_Requests@nsa.gov. Australian organizations: visit cyber.gov.au/acsc/report or call 1300 292 371 (1300 CYBER 1) to report cybersecurity incidents and access alerts and advisories. Canadian organizations: report incidents by emailing CCCS at firstname.lastname@example.org. New Zealand organizations: report cyber security incidents to email@example.com or call 04 498 7654. United Kingdom organizations: report a significant cyber security incident: ncsc.gov.uk/report-an-incident (monitored 24 hours) or, for urgent assistance, call 03000 200 973. This document is marked TLP:WHITE. Disclosure is not limited. Sources may use TLP:WHITE when information carries minimal or no foreseeable risk of misuse, in accordance with applicable rules and procedures for public release. Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol, see http://www.us-cert.gov/tlp/.
Actions critical infrastructure organizations should implement to immediately protect against Russian state-sponsored and criminal cyber threats:
- Patch all systems. Prioritize patching known exploited vulnerabilities.
- Enforce multifactor authentication.
- Secure and monitor remote desktop protocol and other risky services.
- Provide end-user awareness and training.