The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued an alert to critical national infrastructure (CNI) organisations warning of an emerging threat from state-aligned groups.
The NCSC – part of GCHQ – warned that some groups have stated the intent to launch “destructive and disruptive attacks”. CNI organisations should ensure they have taken steps outlined in the NCSC’s heightened threat guidance to strengthen their defences.
The threat comes particularly from state-aligned groups sympathetic to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the alert said.
These groups are not motivated by financial gain, or subject to control by the state, and so their actions can be less predictable and their targeting can be broader than traditional cyber crime actors.
In the short term any activity from the groups is likely to take the form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, website defacements or the spread of misinformation. However, some groups have stated a desire to achieve a more destructive impact against Western infrastructure, the alert said.
Dr Marsha Quallo-Wright, NCSC deputy director for CNI, said: “It has become clear that certain state-aligned groups have the intent to cause damage to CNI organisations, and it is important that the sector is aware of this.
“In the wake of this emerging threat, our message to CNI sectors is to take sensible, proportionate steps now to protect themselves.
“The NCSC has produced advice for organisations on steps to take when the cyber threat is heightened. I strongly encourage all CNI organisations to follow this now.”
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