The Department of Homeland Security says that Russia may be planning a cyberattack on the U.S. homeland. According to a DHS intelligence bulletin, Russia is weighing whether to attack on if the U.S. and NATO’s response to Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine is a threat to Russia’s “long-term national security.”
“Russia maintains a range of offensive cyber tools that it could employ against U.S. networks — from low-level denials-of-service to destructive attacks targeting critical infrastructure,” says the Jan. 23 memo, which DHS distributed to critical infrastructure operators and state and local governments.
DHS analysts assess that Moscow’s threshold for conducting disruptive or destructive cyberattacks on the U.S. homeland “probably remains very high,” the memo says. “[W]e have not observed Moscow directly employ these types of cyberattacks against U.S. critical infrastructure — notwithstanding cyber espionage and potential prepositioning operations in the past.”
U.S. officials have been preparing for potential retaliatory cyberattacks from the Kremlin as Russia has threatened to invade Ukraine by amassing some 100,000 troops along the Ukraine border. The Treasury Department held a classified briefing that covered the issue for big U.S. banks, while the Energy Department has briefed America’s largest electric utilities on Russian cyber capabilities, CNN previously reported.
The report comes as Pentagon announced it is readying up to 8,500 U.S. troops to potentially deploy to Europe.
The Hill reports:
“The United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us, our allies, or partners,” Press secretary John Kirby told reporters Monday.
In light of that and at the direction of President Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “has placed a range of units in the United States on a heightened preparedness to deploy, which increases our readiness to provide forces if NATO should activate the [NATO Response Force} or if other situations developed.”
“All told, the number of forces that the secretary has placed on heightened alert comes up to about 8,500 personnel,” Kirby said.
“We’re going to be ready, we’re going to be prepared to help bolster our allies with capabilities they might need,” Kirby said. “We’re going to do this in lockstep with them … this is really about reassuring the Eastern flank of NATO