You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

As the prospect of war looms over Europe, N.Y. officials assess local cyber threat

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 2/21/2022 Tim Balk

As a last-ditch diplomatic drive to prevent a full-scale war in Eastern Europe appeared to falter on Monday, New York officials sized up the possible local threats rippling from the expected Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Western leaders have warned that the invasion is on track to begin this week and could result in the largest war in Europe since World War II, a conflict all but certain to rattle markets and yank the globe back into a new Cold War.

Protestors hold signs protesting Russia's troop build-up and threat to invade Ukraine during a #StandWithUkraine © Provided by New York Daily News Protestors hold signs protesting Russia's troop build-up and threat to invade Ukraine during a #StandWithUkraine

Protestors hold signs protesting Russia's troop build-up and threat to invade Ukraine during a #StandWithUkraine" rally organized by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America outside the UN in Manhattan, New York on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. (Barry Williams/)

In New York, more than 4,500 miles from the brewing battle, the menace seemed remote, but the upheaval still carried dangers — a point underscored by Gov. Hochul, who convened her cabinet on Sunday for a review of the state’s cyber security defenses.

The governor said her office has been in close contact with the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, and that a cyber attack could upend New York’s infrastructure.

“The reality is that because New York State is a leader in the finance, healthcare, energy, and transportation sectors, our state is an attractive target for cybercriminals and foreign adversaries,” Hochul said in a statement. “It is my top priority to keep New Yorkers safe, and we will remain vigilant.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul © Provided by New York Daily News New York Gov. Kathy Hochul

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (Mary Altaffer/)

The governor said leaders in her cabinet would engage in continuing reviews of possible threats, and she asked New Yorkers to remain cognizant of possible cyber strikes on their personal devices.

Mayor Adams, who has been in regular contact with the governor about security threats, directed New York City Cyber Command to be on heightened alert, according to City Hall. Before taking office, Adams warned that a devastating cyberattack could freeze basic city systems like water and electricity.

“Mayor Adams is regularly briefed by the police commissioner and the city’s chief technology officer about potential threats and is aware of the potentially heightened threat now driven by world events,” Fabien Levy, a City Hall spokesman, said in a statement.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams © Provided by New York Daily News New York City Mayor Eric Adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (Theodore Parisienne/)


Video: Russian cyberattacks don’t need to be big to make a large impact (The Washington Post)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

President Biden has said that he is “convinced” Russia intends to attack Ukraine, a neighboring nation of 44 million people in what was once the Soviet Union. Biden has described an imminent invasion that would strike at the capital city of Kyiv.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered an emotional, grievance-filled speech to his country, declaring that it was “madness” that former republics of the Soviet Union had been allowed to leave. “Ukraine has never had traditions of their own statehood,” Putin said.

Biden has dangled crippling sanctions over Putin’s head, but ruled out sending U.S. troops to Ukraine. The president noted in a TV interview this month that “things could go crazy quickly” if America creeps toward warfare with nuclear-armed Russia, a nation with a million-soldier-strong army.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. © Provided by New York Daily News Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.

President Emmanuel Macron of France spent some three hours on Sunday negotiating with Putin by phone. By day’s end, the contours of a possible meeting between Biden and Putin had surfaced.

But the hope of a summit seemed to be slipping away on Monday. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told ABC News that the chance of a diplomatic solution was “diminishing hour by hour.”

“We have seen, just in the last 24 hours, further moves of Russian units to the border,” Sullivan said. “We couldn’t predict the exact time or day, but it certainly looks like the Russians are proceeding.”

The U.S. estimated last week that Russia has massed between 170,000 and 190,000 troops in and around Ukraine. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain charged in a BBC interview published Sunday that Russia has plotted “the biggest war in Europe since 1945.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Angelo Roefaro, said that the “United States will impose strong, robust and effective sanctions” if Putin orders an invasion.

Flashes of violence erupted in eastern Europe in recent days, with the Ukrainian government blaming artillery fire on Russian-backed forces, and the Kremlin suggesting that Ukraine is aggressing against Russia — a notion flatly rejected by the West.

Protestors hold signs protesting Russia's troop build-up and threat to invade Ukraine during a #StandWithUkraine © Provided by New York Daily News Protestors hold signs protesting Russia's troop build-up and threat to invade Ukraine during a #StandWithUkraine

Protestors hold signs protesting Russia's troop build-up and threat to invade Ukraine during a #StandWithUkraine" rally organized by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America outside the UN in Manhattan, New York on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. (Barry Williams/)

In New York, the most immediate impact of a Russian invasion in Ukraine would likely be a spike in energy prices, said Brian Taylor, a professor at Syracuse University who studies Russia and international security.

But Taylor added that the cyber threat is a legitimate concern, particularly if tensions between the West and Russia spiral out of control. A tit-for-tat between the White House and the Kremlin could include crippling sanctions on Russia followed by cyber strikes on America.

Cyberwarfare would mark a major escalation by Russia, Taylor emphasized on Monday morning. But he added that “things sometimes happen in war, where each side sort of ratchets it up.”

“Then all of a sudden,” he said, “they’re doing things that they wouldn’t have imagined at the beginning of the crisis.”

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from New York Daily News

New York Daily News
New York Daily News
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon