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Local cyber security experts warn about possible cyber attacks as a result of the Russia, Ukraine war

Posted at 7:04 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 19:04:12-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Despite the fact that the Russia-Ukraine war is taking place across the world, the ripple effects can be felt in every country, including America.

“The cost of this war for Russia and the rest of the world is immense,” said Dr. Golfo Alexopoulos.

Alexopoulos is a USF professor and the director of the Institute on Russia. She said the prices of the war are obvious by just looking at our gas prices.

She and several others believe the fallout from the war won’t stop with gas prices.

President Vladimir Putin has vowed to retaliate against any nation that responds to his invasion of Ukraine. Some cyber security experts and lawmakers fear he might retaliate with a cyber attack.

“I do think we have to be concerned about a cyber threat,” she said.

Last February, hackers attacked Oldsmar's water supply. In May, there was a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline. According to U.S. intelligence agencies, Russia used the internet to try and influence our last two presidential elections.

“I don’t think we should be surprised by anything,” Alexopoulos said. “I know that our companies and our institutions are on high alert.”

Horacio Maysonet is the president and CEO of Cyber Security Solutions, based in Clearwater. He works with dozens of big companies that have been hacked in the last year alone. He said the cyber attack industry has grown, and there’s a lot of money in it.

“Cybercriminals really know that we are very dependent on everything internet-based,” he said.

When it comes to major companies and government, Maysonet said there is not much individuals can do about that.

“It’s the responsibility of those organizations, however, you can write or call the companies, and your local representative or senator and ask them what they’re doing to protect the community,” he said. “You can push for information.”

As for your personal devices, like smartphones and laptops, make sure you have all the up-to-date security software. Create complicated passwords, and change them frequently. Maysonet said do not click on links in emails or text messages if you don’t know what they’re for or who they’re from.

“It’s important to be calm and collected,” he said. “Be careful.”

Also, experts said to make sure you have two-factor authentication and don’t use the same password for all of your accounts.