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Blog March 29, 2022

How Public Cloud Providers Are Supporting Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine has the entire world on edge. For all of the horrors shown on the nightly news, there are unseen battles happening behind the scenes. State-sponsored hackers and cybersecurity personnel are in their own conflict. One primary attack vector? Malware.

From financial assets to private personal information to applications and infrastructure, protecting data has never been more important. Public cloud’s ability to react quickly against one of the leading state-sponsored hacking entities in the world is remarkable. Cloud leaders like AWS and Microsoft are moving quickly to help protect Ukraine.

Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have both announced initiatives to help bolster Ukraine’s cybersecurity defenses. This piece will explore how Microsoft, AWS, and others are working to stop malware and protect Ukraine from bad actors.

Bad Actors, DDoS, Malware, and More

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has the potential to impact organizations within and beyond the Eastern European region. This can include malicious cyber activity against the U.S. homeland from bad actors to phishing attempts, DDoS attacks, and potential malware. If any of those terms are unfamiliar, check out the helpful glossary below:

  • A bad actor is a cybersecurity adversary interested in attacking information technology systems. Bad actors will exploit flaws in the system which is why it’s important to update your operating system and applications – especially web browsers – regularly.
  • A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack targets multiple compromised networks and systems. They wait for an IT department to be distracted before they strike and can cripple a website for days.
  • Malware is malicious software that destroys, damages, and/or steals information from a computer system. These can be Trojan horses, viruses, worms, etc.
  • A phishing scheme is when a link or webpage looks legitimate but is actually a trick designed by bad actors to have you reveal personally identifiable information such as your passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information. This is why it’s important to think before clicking on links in an unrecognized email. More than 90% of successful cyber-attacks start with a phishing email.

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State Department Initiatives

There are a number of efforts underway to help Ukraine address its cybersecurity challenges. The U.S. State Department has been working with the Ukrainian government to improve its cyber capabilities and has provided $10 million in funding for projects such as the development of a National Cybersecurity Strategy and the creation of a Cyber Coordination Center.

The European Union has also been working with Ukraine to improve its cybersecurity posture. The public cloud is playing a critical role in the effort to stop the spread of malware and protect Ukraine from cyberattacks. Microsoft and AWS have both announced initiatives to help bolster Ukraine’s cybersecurity defenses.

Microsoft’s efforts to thwart cyber-attacks

Microsoft has been working with the Ukrainian government to provide technology and training to help secure the country’s networks and critical infrastructure. The company has also provided Windows 10 licenses to all government agencies in Ukraine. And, earlier this year, Microsoft unveiled a new cloud-based service called Azure Security Center for Ukraine. The service provides centralized threat management and enables customers in Ukraine to quickly identify and respond to threats.

Microsoft’s agility and speed to help address critical security issues, particularly in the public cloud, show what is possible for the rest of Azure. Not long ago, Microsoft was able to detect and shut down a widespread malware attack in just a few short hours. Robust protective measures for a very specific use case – Ukrainian assets under attack from Russian cybercriminals – can be broadened and expanded to protect more of their public cloud users.

If Microsoft can do that for something hyper-specific like the situation in Ukraine, then they can also immediately add protections from malware to Azure when necessary.

How AWS has joined the fight

AWS has also been working with the Ukrainian government to help improve its cybersecurity posture. In 2015, AWS launched an “AWS in the Ukraine” program to provide training and resources for developers, startups, and students.

In January, AWS announced that it is expanding the availability of its GuardDuty service to more regions. The service, which is a cloud-based security monitoring solution, helps customers detect and respond to threats in near-real-time. In Ukraine, the availability of GuardDuty means companies can detect and address a rising tide of malware and DDoS attacks.

With the expansion, GuardDuty will be available in all AWS Regions, including AWS GovCloud (US), which is specifically designed for US government customers and compliance requirements. The expansion of GuardDuty will also help Ukrainian organizations using AWS detect and respond to threats more quickly and effectively.

How Other Companies Are Helping

In addition to Microsoft and AWS, a number of other companies are working to help protect Ukraine from cyberattacks.

Google Cloud expanded eligibility for Project Shield, which provides free, unlimited protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. It further ensures that vital information about aid, shelter, and evacuation procedures remains available to people at risk. This includes Ukrainian government websites and embassies worldwide, and other governments in close proximity to the conflict.

Cisco has donated $1 million worth of Cisco technology to the country. The donation includes Cisco routers, switches, and security appliances.

IBM has also been working with the Ukrainian government to improve its cybersecurity posture. The company has donated over $200,000 worth of software and services to help the country combat cybercrime.

Strengthen Your Security Posture

Companies like those above are making a big difference in fortifying Ukrainian cyberdefenses. Other organizations like Connectria also offer technology and capabilities to protect against malware, DDoS attacks, and other potential cyber intrusions. For example, Connectria can design a security solution around both public and private cloud environments for businesses of any size. Hardened web application firewalls (WAFs) and user authentication policies are but a small part of what our team can do.

Having a strong security posture in advance of a threat is the best protection. Absent that, being able to respond quickly and with the best possible solution can still be enough to protect your most important cyber-assets. The situation in Ukraine is a reminder of how important it is for organizations to have robust cybersecurity defenses in place.

Contact Connectria with any questions about cloud security or to find the right cloud solution for your business.

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