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Ukrainian Professor Addresses Cybersecurity Threats

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Born in eastern Ukraine and raised in the city of Artemovsk (recently renamed Bakhmut), Cal State Fullerton’s Associate Professor of Computer Science, Mikhail Gofman, is the director of the Center for Cybersecurity and a certified information systems security professional.

As the conflict in Eastern Europe continues, Gofman, himself a Ukrainian refugee, offers his thoughts on the cybersecurity threat to his country.

“I am sure that Ukraine and its allies have invested significant time and resources trying to perform penetration tests on the systems controlling Ukrainian critical infrastructure to ensure resilience against the onslaught of Russian attacks.  Ukraine has also recently started recruiting volunteers to its IT army whose job it is to perform both defensive and offensive maneuvers in the war with Russia.”

The war in Ukraine is not only impacting global economies, it has caused concerns for cybersecurity experts worldwide. Gofman continues to monitor Russia’s role in web security and the potential impact to the U.S. and the world. 

“So far, we have not seen Russia unleash notable sophisticated cyber-attacks against US during/as a result of the ongoing Ukraine crisis.  However, this can change depending on the escalation.  Russia can attempt to stop/rob banks, shut down the electrical grid, and affect other vital services.  It is also worth adding that many state-sponsored attacks, known as the Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), are incredibly stealthy.  Some have previously taken months/years to discover.  As we speak, it is possible that the systems have already been infected and the data is being exfiltrated.  We are just not aware of it.  Even worse, the malwares can be in a dormant state waiting to be activated when the time is right (perhaps if/when the conflict escalates). At the same time, it is also true that US does have the full capacity to respond to Russian attacks with just as crippling cyberattacks.”

Gofman continues to monitor the situation in Ukraine adding, “I have relatives in the affected areas and close family friends in bomb shelters.”

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