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Comments on Russian invasion of Ukraine

by Mark Rowe

On the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the anti-corruption pressure group Transparency International (TI) has called for leading economies to address corruption exacerbating the conflict, and democratic decline. TI argues that kleptocrats hide their wealth behind anonymous companies and rely on complicit banks, corporate services and real estate agents in western countries to move it around as they wish. As urgent, adds TI, is a concerted effort to locate and freeze assets that could be connected to corrupt Russian officials in bank accounts and invested across the globe.

Daniel Eriksson, Transparency International CEO said: “In a system without checks and balances, Russian elites are emboldened to act against international law, now beginning a war in which thousands of lives may be lost. Corruption kills, and governments around the world have a responsibility to address the root causes of such conflicts.

“For too long, leading economies have turned a blind eye to dirty Russian money for fear of standing up to powerful economic interests. Secrecy laws and lack of oversight from authorities have allowed the Russian elite to hide their wealth, funding corruption back home and abroad.

“The West can no longer allow its financial systems to enable dirty money flows around the globe and especially in Russia. Now is the time for governments to put a full stop to the dirty money that fuels corruption and conflict.”

For more on Transparency International’s recommendations to stop flow of dirty money:

The business continuity trainer and consultant Charlie Maclean-Bristol has blogged on the risks. Visit his PlanB Consulting website. He wrote: “I always feel it is the job of the business continuity manager, if nobody else is doing it, to consider world events, identify the risk to your organisation and then take appropriate mitigating measures.”


Phil Ashley, Managing Director, Crossword Labs said that as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine intensifies, the international community will continue to bring in greater sanctions. “With each iteration of sanctions, we can expect Russia to retaliate with more cyber attacks across the globe as its primary means of attempting to destabilise infrastructure and companies of countries in the west. UK companies need to take this threat seriously and consider an immediate concern.”

And Mike Wills, director of strategy and policy at cyber and data security firm CSS Assure, said: “Businesses should make themselves as hard to hack as possible at all times – but more so than ever. From a strategic perspective, there is a significant risk that Russia may seek to create instability within western countries and, specifically, the UK as a means to distract focus and attention away from the situation in Ukraine and onto closer, acute problems at home.

“To achieve instability and distraction, we may find attacks targeting services that we rely on heavily on a day-to-day basis, such as health, banking, utilities, water, transport infrastructure and supply chains.

“Critical national infrastructure should be relatively hardened to attacks and they will, more than ever, be at a heightened state of vigilance. The attackers know this and, therefore, may be looking to find less obvious routes to target these institutions – potentially through suppliers, which are typically easier to hack.”

As tow to protect from a cyber attack, Mike said: “No business will want the association or ignominy of being the weakest link. While a security programme cannot be established overnight, the best time to start is today. In the interim, heightened vigilance and discipline is critical to defending against a cyber attack.

“At minimum, businesses should consider resetting passwords in case they have already been breached and are enabling access to web portals and email accounts, as well as remind employees to think twice before opening or clicking links on any suspicious emails.

“Multi-factor authentication – which requires users to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a resource – should be implemented wherever possible, and software upgrades and patches should be up to date. Businesses should also dust off, review and rehearse incident respond plans so they know how to react swiftly to any attack and are able to minimise its potential scope and scale. Finally, ensure all critical information is backed-up off network in case of a ransomware attack.”

Meanwhile the Foreign Office has advised against all travel to Ukraine. If you are a British national still in Ukraine, holding a British passport, you should register your presence in Ukraine. The FO advises British nationals to leave Ukraine immediately if judged safe to do so.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has in a phone call assured Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy that the world is united in its horror at what Putin is doing.

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