Today's security threats have expanded in scope and seriousness. There can now be millions -- or even billions -- of dollars at risk when information security isn't handled properly. The US and UK governments have issued official statements today formally accusing Russia's military intelligence agency, GRU, with carrying out a coordinated cyber-attack on thousands of Georgian websites in October 2019. The incident, widely reported at the time, was considered the largest cyber-attack in the former Soviet country's history. According to a report at the time, unidentified hackers broke into at least one web hosting provider and defaced more than 15,000 websites with an image of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, with the text "I'll be back" overlaid on top (see image above).
A viewer of Russian television this week could be forgiven for thinking that the end of the world was imminent, and that it would arrive in the form of grand superpower war with the United States, culminating in a suicidal exchange of nuclear weapons. On one day alone, three separate test firings of intercontinental ballistic missiles were broadcast on state media: two by submarine, one from a launch pad in the Far East. Last weekend, NTV, a channel under effective state control, aired a segment on emergency preparedness that included a tour of a Cold War-era bomb shelter, fortified in case of atomic war, and a mention of the municipal loudspeakers that will sound upon the arrival of "Hour X." On Sunday, Dmitry Kiselev, the most bombastic and colorful of Kremlin propagandists, warned on his weekly newsmagazine show that "impudent behavior" toward Russia may have "nuclear" consequences. Grievances against the West and predictions of militaristic doom are not new in Russia--they have run through all sixteen years of Vladimir Putin's rule. But they took on a heightened intensity in early 2014, after Russia's intervention in Ukraine and the U.S. sanctions that followed.