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US, Allies Warn Possible Russian Cyberattacks Could Reverberate Globally

Monaco is not the first high-ranking U.S. official to warn that potential Russian actions in cyberspace might reverberate in unexpected ways.
FILE - A cybersecurity worker develops computer code in an office in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 25, 2017. The U.S. and allies are bracing for the possibility that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would have a ripple effect in cyberspace.
FILE – A cybersecurity worker develops computer code in an office in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 25, 2017. The U.S. and allies are bracing for the possibility that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would have a ripple effect in cyberspace.

The United States and its Western allies are bracing for the possibility that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would have a ripple effect in cyberspace, even if Western entities are not initially the intended target.

“I am absolutely concerned,” U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told the virtual Munich Cyber Security Conference on Thursday when asked about the chances of catastrophic spillover from a cyberattack on Ukraine.

“It’s not hypothetical,” Monaco said, pointing to the June 2017 “NotPetya” virus, engineered by Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU.

The virus initially targeted a Ukrainian accounting website but went on to hobble companies around the world, including Danish shipping giant Maersk and U.S.-based FedEx.

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