SECURITY ALERT: Heightened cyber threat levels related to Russian invasion of Ukraine

Published

CSIT has received several reports from both private digital security corporations and governmental cyber security agencies within the pass week warning of a heightened risk of advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks.  These warning have been specifically related to tensions between Russia and the Ukraine and, subsequent to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have noted a significant increase in attack activity by Russian APT groups against western European and United States targets.  The increasing attack activity is interpreted as state sponsored retaliation for the imposition of sanctions against Russia by the United States and other NATO nations.

Of course, there is no reason to believe that Nebraska Wesleyan University or NWU account holders will be uniquely targeted by any type of cyber retaliation.  However, many of the tools used by APT actors are not finely calibrated and pose risks to networks and institutions well beyond those which might be thought of as “intended targets.” We are urging all NWU account holders to exercise increased caution in the use and management of their NWU digital resources and, more broadly, in the use of all accounts whether specifically related to NWU or not.

APT attacks typically begin by compromising individual accounts through phishing or text messaging scams.  Computers which are not kept updated with current operating system and application software security patches are vulnerable to the installation of malicious software pushed from compromised web sites or over networks shared with other already compromised computers.  Malicious software could range from root kits, file infectors, ransomware, keyloggers, remote access clients or other destructive payloads.  Thank you for your increased vigilance and caution.