Unclear if Nvidia cyber ‘incident’ tied to Russia-Ukraine

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Technology giant Nvidia has reportedly experienced a “potential” cyber attack, but it is not yet clear if it has anything to do with Vladimir Putin’s pledge to retaliate against the West over Russia’s military invasion and conflict over Ukraine.

VentureBeat reached out to Nvidia, but received no immediate response on Friday.

According to The Telegraph, Nvidia, one of the largest manufacturers of graphics chips, is “investigating a possible cyber attack that has taken parts of its business offline for two days.”

Potential “malicious network intrusions” have led to outages for the company’s email systems and developer tools, the report says.

A statement from Nvidia to the news outlet did not confirm the cyber attack, but instead called it an “incident.”

“We are investigating an incident,” a Nvidia spokesperson said in the report, adding that they did not have additional information to share.

Citing an anonymous “insider” at Nvidia, The Telegraph reported that the company’s internal systems were “completely compromised” in a possible cyber attack – although some email services were operating on Friday, the report said.

The report clarifies that there is “no evidence linking Nvidia’s outage to the conflict” in Ukraine, which has been the target of unprovoked attacks by Ukraine’s neighbor Russia in recent days.

Increase in cyber attacks

Regardless of the true details of the Nvidia incident, Rick Holland, CISO of Digital Shadows, said there would be “no doubt” of cyber attacks in the coming days and weeks.

However, “the guards should not be confused and immediately assume that these attacks are retaliation for Western sanctions against Russia,” Hollande told VentureBeat in an email. “This response is possible, but requires investigation and validation. The ransomware crew has been teasing victims for years and will continue to do so.”

In his speech in recent days, Putin has made it clear that the entire Western world is his enemy and that all options are on the table, according to Eric Byres, a cybersecurity veteran who is now the CTO of Adolus Technology.

For example, in his speech on Thursday, Putin said, “I want to say very important now that those who may be tempted to interfere in this development from outside, whether they try to stand in our way or pose more dangers to our country and our people.” They must know that Russia will respond immediately, and that its consequences will be unprecedented in its history.

Exciting approach

Russia and its affiliates have significant cybercrime potential. Past attacks and current threats from Russia represent one of the biggest drivers for the security industry over the years.

However, Byres told VentureBeat that he originally believed Putin was “a rational actor who does not want to launch major cyber attacks in the US, as he would provoke similar attacks in response.”

But “after reading the full translation of his speech on Tuesday, after reviewing the comments of a number of Russian political analysts and talking to cyber analysts looking at known infiltrators in the US, I am not so sure now,” Bayer said. “I’m concerned that Putin believes he’s bulletproof and that the US is weak.”

Russian cyber attacks are also playing a role in building the country for its attack on Ukraine this week. U.S. and UK authorities last week blamed Russia for a large-scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in Ukraine. Fresh DDoS attacks, as well as devastating cyber attacks involving Viper malware, struck Ukraine on Wednesday, shortly before the invasion.

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