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NATO steps up intelligence-sharing ‘in preparation’ for Russian cyberattacks

Leaders of the NATO defense alliance Thursday said they were stepping up intelligence-sharing on feared Russian cyberattacks, following U.S. warnings that Moscow was preparing large-scale attacks on NATO countries linked to its military invasion in Ukraine.

“In preparation for any Russian malicious cyber response to the actions we have taken, we are taking steps to increase the resilience of the infrastructure in our respective nations by strengthening our coordinated cyber defences and improving our shared awareness of cyber threats,” said a statement released after NATO leaders met in Brussels Thursday.

U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this week warned that he had “evolving intelligence” that showed Russia was preparing to conduct cyberattacks on U.S. infrastructure, urging organizations in the U.S. to patch their systems in anticipation of attacks. Biden’s message added urgency to repeated calls of authorities in NATO countries to prepare for cyberattacks.

NATO leaders also said that “we will continue efforts to support Ukraine in defending its networks against cyber incidents.”

The NATO alliance in its statement also said it “categorically denounce[s] Russia’s malicious and completely unfounded disinformation campaign against Ukraine” and expressed “concern about other countries and actors that have amplified Russia’s disinformation campaign.”

It was also concerned about “escalating and reinforced repression” of Russian opposition and “the Russian leadership’s attempt to deprive Russian citizens of access to unbiased information through censorship.” Analysts have criticized some Chinese state media outlets for amplifying Russian misinformation around the conflict in Ukraine, including downplaying the invasion as a “special military operation.”

Mark Scott contributed reporting.

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