(USA Features) A former career Defense Intelligence Agency analyst born and raised in the former Soviet Union is warning that Russia will continue to conduct cyber and ransomware attacks on U.S. infrastructure.
“Americans are already contending with the consequences of two major Russian cyberattacks, including gas shortages and price hikes due the Colonial Pipeline hack and potentially rising prices on steak and burgers after the JBS meat processing company was hit,” Rebekah Koffler wrote in a Fox News column Tuesday.
“But get ready, because more is on the way,” she added.
Her warning comes on the heels of two such cyber attacks, one on Colonial Pipeline last month, which disrupted fuel supplies along the East Coast for a week, and a more recent attack against JBS meat processing company, the world’s leading beef producer.
Both of those were ransomware attacks; both companies paid the ransom. The attackers were traced back to Russian territory, reports have said.
“Moscow will likely further escalate its aggression against U.S. interests. U.S. officials, in charge of keeping America safe have not taken the Russian threat seriously enough. Because Russian President Putin’s goal is much bigger than the infliction of a few inconveniences,” Koffler writes.
“It is, rather, the unraveling of our society and the weakening of our nation, which Russia views as the primary threat against it,” she continued.
Koffler noted further that a warning “May 31st from the Head of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev” “declared — with typical intentional ambiguity — its intent to use ‘forceful measures,’ including coercive use of force,’ ‘when necessary,’ against ‘unfriendly’ countries. But this almost certainly refers to the United States.”
What makes Koffler believe that more attacks are coming is because Moscow feels justified in doing so.
“Russia believes it is justified in harming the U.S. economy through cyberattacks. The Kremlin thinks the United States, through economic sanctions, set out to undermine the Russian economy and its defense, as well as to turn Russians against Putin’s regime,” she wrote.
“Moscow’s fears of regime collapse stem from the demise of Russia’s predecessor the USSR and the economic shocks that followed it in the 1990s.”
Koffler says that Russia believes it can inflict as much damage on the U.S. using cyber tools without nuclear weapons.
“A cyber strike, in their view, can produce a similar devastating effect on the adversary’s economy and people’s psychology, causing chaos but without a ‘mushroom cloud,'” she added.
U.S. officials, meanwhile, are concerned that ongoing Russian cyber incursions will only escalate.
“Many experts worry however, that Russia’s reckless behavior in the cyber domain could escalate into war, even if unintentionally. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley recently warned that competition with Russia (and China) could lead to great power conflict,” Koffler wrote.