(Reuters) — The British government’s cyber defense agency warned on Wednesday of an emerging threat to Western critical national infrastructure from hackers sympathetic to Russia and its war on Ukraine.
Russia-affiliated “hacktivists” have conducted largely innocuous online campaigns that have defaced prominent public websites or knocked them offline. But some of these groups are actively planning ways to do more real damage, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ’s wiretapping intelligence agency, said in a warning.
“Some have expressed a desire to achieve a more disruptive and destructive impact against Western critical national infrastructure, including in the UK,”; the NCSC said.
“We expect that these groups will look for opportunities to create such an impact, particularly if the systems are poorly protected,” said the warning, which was released to the press at a two-day conference organized by the NCSC and GCHQ in Belfast.
Although such groups are ideologically motivated and aligned with Russian state interests, they are “not subject to formal state control,” the warning said.
“This makes them less predictable,” it said.