The Russia-Ukraine conflict, and its accompanying potential for cyber activities, was a key focal point for the global financial sector in 2022. FS-ISAC’s Global Intelligence Office coordinated regional and global intelligence gathering and disseminated it out to members, helping the entire sector stay informed and coordinated and contributing to the global view that the financial sector’s cyber defenses are extremely mature.
Below is a summary of our activities supporting the sector during a time of high concern for the potential of concentrated attacks targeting the sector by a highly capable adversary and its allies.
The Cyber Threat Level (CTL) is an industry barometer of cyber risk set by regional Threat Intelligence Committees (TICs) made up of members. As the conflict ramped up, our three regional Threat Intelligence Committees (TICs) convened to discuss what members were experiencing due to the war, what their firms were preparing for, what they felt the CTL for the region should be, and providing guidance for members on what to do in an ELEVATED CTL environment.
The Global CTL remained at ELEVATED (the second highest of 4 levels) from February until May, the longest ever span for the global CTL to be so high.
In April 2022, FS-ISAC CEO Steven Silberstein testified before the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee in a session entitled “Mobilizing Our Cyber Defenses: Securing Critical Infrastructure Against Russian Cyber Threats.” He joined other senior critical infrastructure representatives from Crowdstrike, Tenable, and the American Water Works. Steven conveyed that the sector was being very diligent regarding the potential for heightened threats and well-situated to navigate the threat environment surrounding the war in Ukraine. He also discussed how strong and effective public-private partnership enhances the resilience of our critical sector not only generally, but also specifically relating to the geopolitical situation in Ukraine.
At the request of members, FS-ISAC activated its Media Response Team (MRT) to coordinate the sector’s public messaging via the media. The MRT fielded more than 40 inquiries from global business and trade publications as well as major broadcast networks, resulting in a strong public message that the sector was vigilant, coordinated with relevant stakeholders, and prepared.