The Critical Infrastructure Defense Project launches to protect U.S. from retaliatory Russian cyberattacks

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Three giants of the cloud security and identity authentication worlds have partnered to launch the Critical Infrastructure Defense Project, an initiative designed to “rapidly improve cyber readiness” for hospitals, energy, and water utility companies in the U.S.

Cloudlflare, Crowdstrike, and Ping Identity are pooling their collective resources to offer a range of free products and services “at least” for the next four months, addressing growing concerns over retaliatory cyberattacks after sanctions were levied against Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine last month.

Increased risk

Cyber experts have warned of an increased risk of cyberattacks from Russia, which has faced major global sanctions, including its banks being dropped from the SWIFT financial system. President Vladimir Putin has also threatened retaliation against the west, while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) last month issued a ‘Shields Up’ warning, requesting that all U.S. businesses take additional measures to prepare for cyberattacks.

And so the Critical Infrastructure Defense Project seeks to address at least some of these concerns.

“The project was born out of conversations with cybersecurity and government experts concerned about potential retaliation to the sanctions that resulted from the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post. “In particular, there is a fear that critical United States infrastructure will be targeted with cyber attacks. While these attacks may target any industry, the experts we consulted with were particularly concerned about three areas that were often underprepared and could cause significant disruption — hospitals, energy, and water.”

Cloudflare is offering a host of cybersecurity products to qualifying organizations gratis, including DNS filtering; a secure web gateway; zero trust access control; email protection; DNS infrastructure; and WAF and DDoS mitigation. Crowdstrike, meanwhile, is offering its Falcon Endpoint Protection Pro and Falcon X Recon products, while Ping Identity is throwing single sign-on, multifactor authentication, risk management, and orchestration into the mix.

Aside from the specific products and services on offer, the Critical Infrastructure Defense Project also promises an “easy-to-follow” roadmap to help businesses bolster their security posture at a time of heightened tensions.

“This is first and foremost a public service initiative to secure the endpoints and data of some of the most important critical infrastructure entities in the country,” Crowdstrike CEO George Kurtz said in a statement. “We are in a position to help and we want to do all we can.”

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