The invasion of Ukraine by Russia poses significant risks to the global economy, which is still reeling from the epidemic shock.
The fight already appears to be Europe’s worst war since 1945. As residents fled, Russian soldiers launched airstrikes, seized army outposts, and moved closer to Kyiv. According to Western officials, the capital might collapse anytime if its air defences are destroyed.
The attack came after weeks of unrest that had already shaken the world economy by driving up oil costs. Thursday saw an increase in that. For the first time since 2014, oil momentarily surpassed $100 per barrel while European natural gas prices rose by 62%.
Key Vulnerability Points
High inflation and unsteady financial markets are two significant points of vulnerability the epidemic has left for the world economy. The invasion’s aftershocks might easily make both situations worse.
A hazard exists to growth as well. Families will have less money to spend on other products and services if they spend an increasing percentage of their income on fuel and heating. Plunging markets would be an additional hindrance, affecting wealth and confidence and making it more difficult for businesses to access capital for investment.
Energy Prices Spiked
Since mid-2021, energy prices have been growing steadily due to pent-up demand fueled by the post-pandemic rebound and significant market tightness. The European energy market was under unheard-of strain due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where this dynamic was most noticeable.
European wholesale prices for gas and electricity soared by 115% (109%) and 237% (138%), respectively, from February 23, the day before the war began, and July 31, the day after it ended. As the conflict intensified, price tensions moved from the spot market to the entire term structure of energy price futures, indicating that the price of energy would likely be higher for a more extended period.
Massive Surge in Attacks
Cyberattacks believed to be from Russian sources increased by almost 800% over 48 hours after the conflict started. Threat levels, preparedness, and response have all been covered in high alerts shared by US cybersecurity agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI.
The importance of this cannot reasonably be overstated. There is little doubt that this string of international events has been planned for some time, with hostile cyber warfare being one of the main tools of the modern global military today. In the past, malevolent state-sponsored cyber-activities have increased during the heightened geo-political conflict.
We do not yet know the type of attacks that may occur or those that may succeed, but given the history of prior global attacks, we must be on the lookout for:
- Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
- Network attacks
- Zero-Day vulnerabilities
- Code flaw vulnerabilities
Or a mix of any of the above.
Hackers Are Getting Smarter
Every day, hackers discover new methods to access data. An information security analyst must spot security issues before criminals do. Then, to guard against cyberattacks, they create and put into place new preventative security mechanisms. An increasing number of cybersecurity specialists are required to design and deploy innovative security solutions as hacker techniques advance.
How can you protect yourself?
Although it is impossible to predict precisely how an assault will look, these precautions can offer widespread protection against what we anticipate will happen.
Patch internet-facing and business-critical software – Not just those vulnerabilities known to be actively exploited in the field should have updates applied. This is the most crucial type of software that is internet-facing and essential for your company’s operations, such as webmail, VPNs, and other remote access options.
Be prepared to respond quickly – In case of a cybersecurity event or disruption of essential infrastructure, identify points of contact within your firm in critical areas.
Prepare for ransomware and data destruction – Ransomware or a harmful cyberattack that impersonates ransomware will likely be used in disruptive cyberattacks.
Lock down your network – Small policy adjustments can reduce the likelihood that an attack on your network will be successful. Reduce the interval between security updates, execute scans for early indicators of compromise (IoCs), and do gap analyses across key attack vectors to identify areas that need alert prioritising.
Organisations Invest in Cyber Protection
In recent years, financial institutions have again been at the forefront of corporations’ significant investments in cybersecurity. Businesses revamped and improved security procedures throughout the pandemic to account for various network access patterns employing virtual desktop architecture, sophisticated multifactor authentication, and data loss prevention tools. Asset management companies have been at the forefront of biometric-based access techniques, significantly lowering the danger of breaches caused by stolen passwords.
Businesses must concentrate their efforts on optimising these technologies’ use, ensuring they are successfully integrated and set up for the best defence. Here, the insurance sector is acting as a catalyst. Insurance companies have been pressuring businesses to use solutions like multifactor authentication, endpoint detection and response tools, email filtering, expanded cybersecurity awareness training, and incident response testing in reaction to the current spike in ransomware attacks. These are becoming more and more prerequisites for even acquiring cyber insurance coverage.
Notably, businesses cannot neglect primary cybersecurity defences. Basics like ensuring the configuration management database are current, the inventory of all IT services, software, and hardware assets, and that your teams have applied the most recent software updates to fix vulnerabilities is part of this. The current situation emphasises the necessity to keep replacing equipment that is not sufficiently cyber-robust against today’s more dangerous threats, even though dealing with end-of-life systems is by no means a quick fix.
Make no mistake; we are living in a period unlike any other. We have never had to deal with the aspects of war that we do now, where attacks can be launched instantly from anywhere in the world. Attacks on our financial systems and our essential infrastructure, including the internet itself, power, water, and health care, should be anticipated and may be made unusable by overt or covert cyber-attacks.
Cybersecurity is becoming a top priority in light of these dangers. Cybersecurity is fundamental to survival and has never been more critical, particularly in light of the developing war between Russia and Ukraine.