UTSA helping to protect cyber security amid Ukraine attacks

The Ukraine is already experiencing several cyber attacks. But just because malware was launched thousands of miles away doesn't necessarily limit the threat.

SAN ANTONIO – Among all the explosions, people in Ukraine are also experiencing the effects of cyberattacks. Malware infected hundreds of computers and Ukraine is reported to be experiencing issues with its internet and cellular service.

Retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Guy M. Walsh says it’s a common pattern when it comes to using cyber operations.

“Just prior to the actual physical invasion of aircraft and ballistic missiles, the loss of the media out there intended to create that chaos within the public sector and take away their knowledge of what’s happening,” Walsh explained

Malware attacks can have ripple effects beyond the initial launching point. Security experts are also concerned about the potential for a cyberattack in the U.S. Walsh says the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are keeping an eye on what’s coming across networks and the effects in Ukraine.

Walsh is using his experience with the Department of Defense and cyber security to lead the National Security Collaboration Center at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“What universities do is assist by providing research and in analyzing that data. So there’s a lot of capability, particularly here at UTSA,” Walsh said.

Massive amounts of data needs to be analyzed.

“We’re working the areas of artificial intelligence. What can we do in terms of sifting through and analyzing that data? How can we do some of that with machines as opposed to an analyst having to sit down and go through each of those?” Walsh said.

Walsh said providing quicker access to that information can lead to better decision-making out in the field.

Information sharing isn’t the only key defense in cyber security. Walsh says the high standards in our infrastructure need to be met to protect things like our power grid and pipelines.

When it comes to protecting yourself from a cyberattack, Walsh recommends using strong passwords and a second form of authentication. One example would be having a special code sent to your phone when you log into your account.

About the Author:

Adrian Ortega is a news producer for the Nightbeat. He joined the station in 2016. Adrian helped expand the Nightbeat to a one-hour newscast on the weekend and is now producing for the Nightbeat 5 times per week. He's helped cover the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 winter storm, race and policing in SA and the Alazan-Apache Courts on the West Side.