The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning of an imminent cyber threat against American companies and government agencies because Russia may soon launch attacks against critical U.S. infrastructure, a national security source told Fox News.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a warning last week that "[e]very organization in the United States is at risk from cyber threats that can disrupt essential services and potentially result in impacts to public safety."
It told companies and organizations in the U.S. that they should immediately take steps to protect against a cyberattack, specifically citing recent malware attacks against Ukraine.
The national security source confirmed to Fox News Tuesday that the warning was issued specifically because of a threat from Russia. The source said it's widely believed in the national security community that Russia plans to launch cyberattacks, potentially against critical U.S. infrastructure.
The warnings come as Russia is amassing its military along the Ukraine border with the apparent intent of invading the country. The U.S. and other Western nations have expressed support for Ukraine and sent aid, including weapons.
The United States is also considering sending thousands of additional troops to other Baltic and Eastern European countries to deter Russia. But it is not expected American troops would enter Ukraine, where they could be at risk of coming into contact with Russian forces.
Cyberattacks have the potential to have serious real-world consequences. Last year, the Russia-linked ransomware group REvil attacked key U.S. meat producer JBS, forcing it to shut down all of its meat plants.
Also last year, a hack into the Colonial Pipeline resulted in gas shortages for days in parts of the eastern United States. That event led DHS to mandate owners of such pipelines improve their cybersecurity protocols.
And Russia launched series of large-scale cyber attacks ahead of invading Georgia in 2008. The attacks were the first time it synchronized cyber attacks with conventional military operations. It affected Georgian government’s ability to react, respond, and communicate during the war. Russia also coordinated military and cyber action was ahead of Ukraine invasion in 2014. It disrupted the internet in Ukraine while Russians seized the control of Crimea.
Fox News' NuNu Japaridze and Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.