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NCSC Suggests to Reconsider Russian Supply Chain Risks


One of the UK's top security agencies has encouraged the public sector, critical infrastructure (CNI), and other institutions to rethink the hazards of any "Russian-controlled" elements of their supply chain. 

There is no evidence that the Russian government is preparing to compel private providers to harm UK interests, according to Ian Levy, technical director of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). That doesn't rule out the possibility of it happening or happening in the future, he continued. 

"Russian law already contains legal obligations on companies to assist the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), and the pressure to do so may increase in a time of war. We also have hacktivists on each side, further complicating matters, so the overall risk has materially changed. The war has proven many widely held beliefs wrong and the situation remains highly unpredictable. In our view, it would be prudent to plan for the possibility that this could happen. In times of such uncertainty, the best approach is to make sure your systems are as resilient as you can reasonably make them,” Levy argued. 

All UK public sector organisations, those supplying services to Ukraine, CNI enterprises, organisations performing the activity that could be regarded as being in opposition to Russian interests, and high-profile institutions whose compromise would be a PR success for the Kremlin are all covered by the new NCSC guidelines. 

Levy continued, “You may choose to remove Russian products and services proactively, wait until your contract expires (or your next tech refresh), or do it in response to some geopolitical event. Alternatively, you may choose to live with the risk. Whatever you choose, remember that cybersecurity, even in a time of global unrest, remains a balance of different risks. Rushing to change a product that’s deeply embedded in your enterprise could end up causing the very damage you’re trying to prevent.” 

Even those companies which aren’t likely to be a target should remember that global sanctions could impact the availability of any Russian technology services. There was some good news from the NCSC. Levy said individuals using Kaspersky products could continue to do so relatively safely. He claimed that “massive, global cyber-attacks” are unlikely to be launched due to the conflict.