On Wednesday morning, March 9, 2022, Shared Assessments presented Threat Briefing: Russia’s War on Ukraine, A National Security Perspective, an hour-long webinar featuring a conversation with renowned counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke and Shared Assessments CEO Andrew Moyad.
About Richard A. Clarke
Richard A. Clarke began his government career at the Department of Defense in the 1970s and was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence by President Reagan in 1983. George H.W. Bush appointed Clarke to be Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. Bill Clinton appointed him to the National Security Council, where he held a cabinet position as National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism. He remained with the NSC under George W. Bush until 2001, when Bush appointed him Special Advisor to the President on cybersecurity and cyberterrorism.
He left the Bush administration in 2003. He is a bestselling author whose work includes four novels and six works of non-fiction about security threats and terrorism.
How To Defend Your Organization From Cyberattacks?
During their conversation (to be discussed in greater depth in a later post), Clarke discussed a number of possible retaliatory actions Russian President Vladimir Putin might take against Ukraine and its supporters, including cyberattacks. Moyad asked, “What are some of the key measures our members and all organization should be taking over the next 30 days as this Russia / Ukraine conflict continues?”
Clarke was ready for the question, and responded to be prepared for the worst and offered the following concrete steps to take now to get your organization’s “shields up” in the increasingly likely event (as Clarke sees it), Putin launches a cyberattack against Ukraine’s supporters in Europe and North America:
Earlier in the conversation Clarke and Moyad discussed the SolarWinds attack, so Clarke also mentioned questions to ask internally in relation to third party software programs, including:
- Can you shut it off? What happens when you shut it off?
- Can you revert back to an earlier version? Can you still access an earlier version?
- How quickly can it be brought back?
- Can you sandbox a simulated environment and run a test? Can you run more tests than usual?
Sounding like one of the Cassandras he wrote about in his 2017 bestseller Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes, Clarke acknowledged these actions take time, money, people, so inform your CEO and Board of Directors and added, “If ever there were a time to do it, do it now, and for the next month or so.”