Financial institutions are being warned to brace themselves for a cyberattack following rising tensions between the West and Russia.

The European Central Bank is preparing banks for a possible Russian-sponsored cyber attack as tensions with Ukraine mount, two people with knowledge of the matter said, as the region braces for the financial fallout of any conflict.

Comment: The 'tensions mounting' with Ukraine primarily consist of the West supplying the country with 'lethal aid', such as weapons, and military advisors, as well as sending thousands of troops to various NATO friendly nations.

Not everyone is in agreement, however, because Ukraine admits there's no 'imminent' threat of invasion, even the White House has to back track on that claim; Germany has refused to allow its weapons to be moved closer to Russia; and the Cezch Republic has rejected hosting any further troops.

The stand-off between Russia and Ukraine has rattled Europe's political and business leaders, who fear an invasion that would damage the entire region.

Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron shuttled from Moscow to Kyiv to act as a mediator after Russia massed troops near Ukraine.

Comment: Unsurprisingly, Reuters is omitting a lot of significant detail here, because, just before departing for his high profile meeting with Putin, Macron declared that:
"The geopolitical objective of Russia today is clearly not Ukraine, but to clarify the rules of cohabitation with NATO and the EU."

Now the European Central Bank, led by former French minister Christine Lagarde and which has oversight of Europe's biggest lenders, is on alert for the threat of cyber attacks on banks launched from Russia, the people said.

Comment: What proof do these 'people' have that Russia would be behind the attack? Bearing in mind recent ransomware attacks bear all the hallmarks of CIA operations. Further, this is the same compromised Christine Lagarde that, just a few years ago just managed to avoid a prison sentence for her involvement in a high profile fraud case..

While the regulator had been focused on ordinary scams that boomed during the pandemic, the Ukraine crisis has diverted its attention to cyber attacks launched from Russia, said one of the people, adding that the ECB has questioned banks about their defences.

Banks were conducting cyberwar games to test their ability to fend off an attack, the person said.

Comment: Indeed. And the announcement on January the 1st of this year that the West would be performing cyberwar games was alarming in itself, because, the Build Back Better bunch have openly declared they want a Great Reset, and so a number of commentators are speculating that, as has happened during a number of previous terror attack exercises, these games could suddenly 'go live', and we'd have a very real cyberwarfare initiated collapse: EU to stage large-scale cyberattack exercise on supply chains

The ECB, which has singled out addressing cybersecurity vulnerability as one of its priorities, declined to comment.

Its concerns are mirrored around the world.

The New York Department of Financial Services issued an alert to financial institutions in late January, warning of retaliatory cyberattacks should Russia invade Ukraine and trigger US sanctions, according to Thomson Reuters' Regulatory Intelligence.

Comment: Note that back in March 2021, Biden announced that the US would be launching 'clandestine' cyber attacks against Russia. But this goes back even further, because in 2018 Whitehall sources had revealed that the UK government was planning cyber attacks on Russia.

High Alert

The United States, the European Union and Britain have repeatedly warned Putin against attacking Ukraine after Russia deployed around 100,000 troops near the border with its former Soviet neighbour.

Earlier this year, multiple Ukrainian websites were hit by a cyber strike that left a warning to "be afraid and expect the worst", as Russia had amassed troops near Ukraine's borders.

Ukraine's state security service SBU said it saw signs the attack was linked to hacker groups associated with Russian intelligence services.

Comment: So they had no evidence it was Russia, and likely because it wasn't. Ukraine certainly wasn't sure who did it: Ukraine changes its mind (again) on culprit behind cyberattack

Russian officials say the West is gripped by Russophobia and has no right to lecture Moscow on how to act after expanding the NATO military alliance eastwards since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

Comment: In violation of agreements made at the highest levels.

The Kremlin has also repeatedly denied the Russian state has anything to do with hacking worldwide and said it is ready to cooperate with the United States and others to crack down on cybercrime.

Nonetheless, regulators in Europe are on high alert.

Britain's National Cyber Security Centre warned large organisations to bolster their cyber security resilience amid the deepening tensions over Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Mark Branson, the head of German supervisor BaFin, told an online conference that cyberwarfare was interconnected with geopolitics and security.

The White House had also blamed Russia for the devastating 'NotPetya' cyber-attack in 2017, when a virus crippled parts of Ukraine's infrastructure, taking down thousands of computers in dozens of countries.

Comment: There's no proof, nor is there even any reasonable motive for Russia to do such a thing. For example, Ukraine's already troubled economy began to crash based on the recent provocations by the West, Russia didn't have to take any aggressive actions.

The vulnerability was underscored again last year, when one of the globe's largest-yet hacking campaigns used a U.S. tech company as a springboard to compromise a raft of U.S. government agencies and attack the White House blamed on Russia's foreign intelligence services.

The attack breached software made by SolarWinds Corp, giving hackers access to thousands of companies using its products, rippling through Europe, where Denmark's central bank said that the country's "financial infrastructure" had been hit.

Some, however, believe the Ukraine crisis has been blown out of proportion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Washington and the media of fuelling panic.

Source: Reuters