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MSPs Are Bracing For Increase In Cyberattacks In Wake Of Russia Invasion of Ukraine

Steven Burke

‘Everybody needs to be aware of the potential for increased attacks,’ says Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ‘Everyone is fair game. We have tightened up all our policies and rolled out a cloud based SSL VPN.’

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MSPs are taking additional security measures to prevent what they expect will be a sharp increase in cyberattacks, including ransomware threats, in the wake of the Russia invasion of Ukraine, said MSPs at XChange 2022.

“When Homeland Security put out a security warning after the Russia invasion we verified that night all our customers’ firewalls and firmware were up to date,” said Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., solution provider in an interview at CRN parent The Channel Company’s Xchange 2022 conference in Dallas. “Everybody needs to be aware of the potential for increased attacks. Everyone is fair game. We have tightened up all our policies and rolled out a cloud-based SSL VPN.”

In addition, LAN Infotech has put all of its employees on Windows Virtual Desktop and beefed up its Intune (mobile device management) policies.

[Related: Russia Invasion of Ukraine Poses Grave Threat To MSPs: Lt. General Russel Honore ]

With the economic sanctions taking hold, Goldstein fears that ransomware attacks from Russia will increase. “With SWIFT banking transactions blocked, ransomware is the simplest approach to raise money,” he said. “We have to lock things down both professionally and personally. We have to raise the threat level for everyone in the MSP community. We all have to be diligent and vigilant.”

LAN InfoTech’s security business is expected to grow 150 percent this year as more customers are alerted to the increased security threat landscape, said Goldstein. “We have a complete security stack that we implement for customers,” he said.

Goldstein said Fortinet alerted MSPs to a Ukrainian resource page to raise awareness of potential threats and to keep up to date on the Ukraine security threats. “They are alerting us to what is happening in Ukraine at a cybersecurity level,” he said.

The potential for increased cyberattacks in the wake of the Russia invasion of Ukraine is a hot topic at Xchange.

ThreatLocker co-founder and CEO Danny Jenkins told XChange attendees that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has sparked a 600 percent increase in cyberattacks. He said MSPs need to be concerned about nation-state-sponsored attacks.

In addition, retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, a decorated 37-year U.S. Army veteran, says he expects the Russian invasion of Ukraine to lead to increased ransomware attacks here at home.

Finally, the vast majority of MSPs in a straw poll said they are concerned about increased cyberattacks as a result of the war.

Manny Villa, founder and president of VIA Technology, San Antonio, Texas-based MSP, said his company has implemented tough new security standards aimed at preventing attacks against his company and its customers.

“The world has changed,” said Villa. “We tightened our own network and canceled social media on desktops. No outside networks are going to penetrate our internal corporate network. We have blocked out outside sites to our laptops.”

Villa said he has not been sleeping well since the attack and is concerned about the implications for his family, his business and his customers. “This has got me worried. My job is to protect my family, my employees, and my customers,” he said. “This is keeping me up at night.”

Villa said he expects his company’s security business to at least double this year. “We are providing a complete set of security services including physical security with access control,” he said.

Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westborough, Mass. cloud solution provider, said he sees the Russia invasion of Ukraine as a “significant” threat for MSPs and their clients.

“We are likely to see increased state-based attacks out of Russia,” he said. “That is going to impact our cybersecurity infrastructure. You only have so much capacity. We are expanding our security stack and encouraging our customers to sign up. The challenge with security in the SMB market is there is always an element of leading a horse to water and them not wanting to drink it because of the cost.”

Jenkins, for his part, told CRN that he sees a “massive increase” in cyberattacks from Russia. “That money is being funneled into bitcoin and going back into Russia,” he said. “That’s a big problem.”

Cyberattacks have increased each year for the past several years with no end in sight, said Jenkins. “Every year it gets worse and worse and worse,” he said. “MSPs need to do things to protect themselves. They have to look at what can give them the biggest reward for the least lift.”

Steven Burke

Steve Burke has been reporting on the technology industry and sales channel for over 30 years. He is passionate about the role of partners using technology to solve business problems and has spoken at conferences on channel sales issues. He can be reached at sburke@thechannelcompany.com.

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