GCHQ is urging UK firms to bolster their cyber security in response to the malicious attacks in and around Ukraine

UK organisations are being urged to bolster their cyber security resilience in response to the malicious cyber incidents in and around Ukraine.  

It comes after the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, updated its guidance to UK companies. NCSC is investigating recent reports of malicious cyber incidents in Ukraine.

Incidents of this nature are similar to a pattern of Russian behaviour seen before in previous situations, including the destructive NotPetya attack in 2017 and cyber attacks against Georgia. The UK Government has attributed responsibility for both these attacks to the Russian Government.   

While the NCSC is not aware of any current specific threats to UK organisations in relation to events in and around Ukraine, the guidance encourages organisations to follow actionable steps that reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack, including:

  • Patching systems; 
  • Improving access controls and enabling multi-factor authentication; 
  • Implementing an effective incident response plan; 
  • Checking that backups and restore mechanisms are working; 
  • Ensuring that online defences are working as expected, and; 
  • Keeping up to date with the latest threat and mitigation information. 

Paul Chichester, NCSC director of Operations, said:

The NCSC is committed to raising awareness of evolving cyber threats and presenting actionable steps to mitigate them. 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.”

The guidance, which is primarily aimed at larger organisations, also advises organisations which fall victim to a cyber attack to report the incident to the NCSC’s 24/7 Incident Management team.