NYC on ‘ultra high alert’ amid heightened risk of retaliatory Russian cyberattack

New York State is at “increased risk” of cyberattacks by Russian retaliators, while city agents have seen more attempted attacks amid heightened tensions created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, officials said Monday.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, met with New York City and Police Department officials Monday morning. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has so far not found any concrete credible cybersecurity threats facing the city, but not for lack of effort, officials said.

“Russia’s military assault on Ukraine’s cities and buildings happened in conjunction with cyberattacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure — from its banks to government departments,” Gillibrand told reporters at NYPD headquarters in Manhattan. “And there is no guarantee that these attacks will be limited to Ukraine. Following the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and our allies, there is an increased risk that Russia will carry out retaliatory cyberattacks, particularly against New York State infrastructure and individuals.”

Gillibrand met with city leaders including Comptroller Brad Lander, New York City Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser and NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller for a cybersecurity briefing ahead of the press conference.

Get the latest Update in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with live coverage of The Post.

“We regularly see threats emerging specifically related to this heightened sense that we’ve seen an increase, but we’re not aware of any campaign that’s explicitly targeting the city itself,” Fraser told reporters. “We’re blocking a significant number of threats per day… But as it stands now, there’s no trade-offs, or there haven’t been any significant trade-offs.”

Miller, who has been at the forefront of intelligence and counterterrorism for years, said the city was “scanned as an urban entity thousands of times a day, millions of times a year.”

“We didn’t compromise,” Miller continued, “but it wasn’t for lack of trying or for a very well thought out answer.”

The current situation in Ukraine.
The current situation in Ukraine.
NY Post illustration

Miller noted that the NYPD and its city partners have been building security efforts around their infrastructure for nine years. He said the threat to New York City and its critical infrastructure was “always high” but has since escalated.

“As tensions rise, the Russian state actor is stepping up malicious cyberattacks both for tactical reasons – to disable systems that may be running against it by an adversary – and for strategic reasons – to put pressure on other entities, be they allies or members disable their interest,” he said. “So we know we face an elevated threat and we have prepared for that elevated threat to transition from our normal high alert to ultra-high alert. And here we are. NYC on ‘ultra high alert’ amid heightened risk of retaliatory Russian cyberattack


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