Spain asks officials to change passwords against cyberattacks

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cyberattacks

MADRID – Spain is asking officials to change their passwords and disconnect equipment. The decision is made to prevent cyberattacks in light of the war in Ukraine.

Spain wants to protect its administration against hackers and in any case, make it as difficult as possible for them. The government has instructed officials and diplomats to change their passwords as soon as possible. Furthermore, they should disconnect non-essential equipment as far as possible.

The measure will be passed, according to the newspaper El Diario, “in anticipation of possible cyberattacks” in the context of the war in Ukraine.

One of the messages sent to senior officials and diplomats says that changing passwords is mandatory and officials should do it as soon as possible.

In addition, other government administrations, such as that of the Xunta de Galicia, warn their employees that they could become victims of cyberattacks and/or digital identity theft. The warning is said to come directly from the National Cryptologic Centre, an organisation linked to the CNI, Spain’s intelligence agency.

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Cyberattacks in addition to ground war

The warning comes in the special context of the war in Ukraine. The US and EU have taken sanctions against Russia, but the digital arena plays a crucial role in this. Well before Putin’s tanks rumbled into Ukraine, the country had already suffered malware or DDoS attacks of suspected Russian origin. Ransomware groups, such as Conti or CoomingProject, have already expressed their support for Moscow. Moreover, they warned that they will attack the strategic points of their enemies.

“If someone decides to stage a cyberattack or war activity against Russia, we will use all our possible resources to hit the enemy’s critical infrastructures,” said Conti. This is a Russia-based cybercriminal group that uses ransomware to make money. Conti has already tried this with several American and European companies.

Anonymous declares Russia cyberwar

On the other hand, another group of hackers, Anonymous, has declared cyberwar on Russia. The group has taken responsibility for the cyberattacks on various Russian news websites, among which the Russian Today news channel. The EU has now sent experts in cyber operations to Ukraine. This way they try to anticipate the role technology can play in countering the digital invasion.  

Google takes action

After almost five days of the invasion, several actions are already showing the strategic weight of technology in our time. The Kremlin has already partially restricted Facebook after accusing the social medium of “censorship.” Google has taken measures to prevent Russian media from earning money on their websites, apps, and YouTube videos. Kyiv has already approached multinationals such as Apple or SpaceX for support.

SWIFT

Along the same lines, Ukraine has called for the blocking of software updates from Russia. The US, EU, Canada, and the UK, in perhaps the strongest push yet to put pressure on Moscow, have decided to unlink some Russian banks from the international payment service SWIFT.

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