UK firms warned of cyberwar ‘spillover’

All organizations in UK are being urged to immediately bolster their business resilience capabilities due to an increased risk of fallout from cyberattacks targeting Ukraine. UK intelligence officials today reiterated previous calls for UK organisations to take rational, sensible steps to secure their infrastructure against possible intrusions from actors backed by malicious states

The NCSC, which is part of Britain's security, intelligence and cyber agency GCHQ, warns that while it knows of no imminent online attacks that might directly target the UK, "malicious cyber incidents in and around Ukraine" could nevertheless cause damage to U.K. organisations.

Specific guidance includes ensuring that all systems are patched and covered by a working backup and recovery plan, among other recommendations.

 

What is Cyber Spillover?

Nation-state threat actors once focused on infrastructure, think tanks, and government sites; they now attack supply chains. Vendors, software, and networks that government organizations rely on are an entry point to primary targets, These frequently are the same supply chains that businesses rely on daily. The most common risks to organisations come from threats that are either poorly executed, resulting in attacks accidentally spreading to other networks, or simply threat actors that do not care who they infect to achieve their goals. 

 

What is an example of Cyber Spillover?

In 2017, an attack, involving NotPetya destructive malware, was disguised as ransomware, which rendered infected systems unrecoverable. The attack involved subverting an update server for a legitimate piece of widely used accounting software developed by a Ukrainian firm. A Trojanized update for the software was issued containing the malware, which was then triggered

 The resulting malware outbreak spread globally, taking out systems at organizations such as FedEx, Danish shipping giant Maersk and pharmaceutical firm Merck, causing up to $10 billion in estimated damages commercially. At one point, a large number of the world's merchant ships were being controlled by WhatsApp and other emergency means, because the systems were down.

 

What actionable steps can I take to protect against cyber spillover?

The NCSC offers extensive advice on its website about how to bolster defences. Just some of the actions organizations should be taking now, NCSC says, include:

  • Keeping all systems patched and updated with security fixes;
  • Improving access controls and enabling multifactor authentication;
  • Implementing and maintaining an effective incident response plan;
  • Ensuring all backup and restore mechanisms are working;
  • Continually reviewing all online defences to ensure they're working as anticipated;
  • Keeping a close eye on "the latest threat and mitigation information."

The NCSC alert also urges any British organization that falls victim to an online attack to notify its incident management team.

 

Contact us today to find out how SEBS IT can help protect your business from Cyber Spillover


The BT Openreach PSTN and ISDN 2025 Switch Off

In 2015, BT announced that they will be switching off the PSTN and ISDN in 2025, marking the biggest change in the telecoms industry for over 30 years, but what does this mean for you

 

Why are traditional landlines being withdrawn?

During December 2025, the technology that currently runs our landline telephones will be switched off. Work has already begun to bring traditional phone lines to the end of life. Traditional landlines are currently powered by The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), which allows calls to be made over copper telephone lines. As broadband services have increased in reliability and quality over the past 10 years, the PSTN network has evolved to support this change to be almost completely digital. This means there will no longer be a requirement for the majority of traditional fixed lines.


The priority for Openreach is to maintain a high availability fibre first network, as a result, their legacy infrastructure and equipment serving the PSTN is now ageing and becoming more difficult to maintain

 

How will traditional landlines being withdrawn affect me?

The most impact will be for those businesses still using landline telephones and fax machines. These businesses will need to take steps to move to modern solutions, such as cloud-based phone systems. Cloud phone systems allow calls to be made over the internet and are cost-efficient and easy to install. Modern communication methods also do away with other older PSTN devices such as Fax machines.

Other services rely on the traditional telephone network that may also be affected. Alarm systems, phones in lifts, and payment terminals are common ones. You should contact your provider for specific advice on these

 

What is the difference between traditional phone lines and cloud phone systems?

  • Cloud-based phone systems have a low setup cost with no need for PBX hardware or servers.
  • Lower call costs with no extra charges for multiple lines or call features.
  • Supports remote working with calls able to be made from anywhere with internet access.
  • Easy and inexpensive to scale up as you grow.

 

What do I do need to do now?

If your business is dependent on landline telephony, we recommend switching to a cloud phone system as soon as possible. You'll benefit from cost savings, enhanced capabilities, such as call forwarding, recording, and a more efficient phone solution, with no unexpected downtime or interruption leading up to 2025.

If you’re not currently a SEBS IT client and would like to learn more about our IT support, consultancy, and security expertise please contact us today.