A warning about Russian cyberattacks

Bryan Nakayama's research focuses on the relationship between technology and ways of warfare.

By Christian Feuerstein

Russia launched a broad attack on Ukraine early Thursday, Feb. 24. As the conflict continues to unfold, Bryan Nakayama, visiting lecturer in international relations and politics at Mount Holyoke, warns that the world should prepare for increased cybercrime. 

In an op-ed for the Boston Globe, Nakayama wrote, “For a long time, policymakers and military leaders have warned the public about the impacts of large-scale direct cyberattacks. But the last decade has demonstrated that the greater risk is the unintended consequences, or cyber fallout, of such attacks. The world is more connected than ever and this means that cyberattacks on Ukraine could rapidly spread abroad.” 

Nakayama pointed out past instances of cybercrime connected to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

“Past instances of cyber fallout from Russian attacks on Ukraine have upset governments, businesses and essential services like hospitals across the world. The fallout from the 2017 NotPetya ransomware, which Russian affiliated groups targeted at Ukraine, was so large that some analysts estimate it reduced the country’s GDP by 0.5% — but the fallout was global: NotPetya is estimated by some analysts to have cost the world $10 billion in remediation costs and damages,” he wrote. 

Read the editorial

 

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