The Department of Homeland Security has been designated as the lead federal agency managing the national response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis following warnings about potential cyberattacks on the United States and ongoing disinformation campaigns.

As part of that effort, DHS has established a group to monitor Russian activity and coordinate federal agencies, according to DHS.

The new group, which will be led by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Executive Director Brandon Wales, will work across the federal government to prepare for and respond to potential threats to the United States.

“While there are no specific threats to the homeland at this time, DHS is taking appropriate steps to ensure federal efforts are coordinated when needed,” the agency said in a statement. .

The DHS has already set up similar groups in times of crisis. Last year, for example, DHS created a so-called unified coordination group following the evacuation out of Afghanistan.

Among the current concerns of Homeland Security officials are potential cyberattacks.

Thusday: President Biden has said the United States is “ready to respond” if Russia pursues cyberattacks on American businesses or critical infrastructure.

For months, the United States has worked closely with the private sector to “strengthen our cyber defenses” and “enhance our ability to respond to Russian cyberattacks,” Biden said.

In an interview with PBS earlier this week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that while there is no information to suggest a specific and credible cyber threat against the American homeland, “it is our responsibility to be prepared”.

“[W]We have been disseminating information, providing resources to the private sector for more than two months now, once the prospect of a Russian attack on Ukraine materialized,” he said, when told asked whether sanctions could trigger a cyberattack.

Last month: CNN reported that Russia would consider carrying out a cyberattack on US territory if Moscow perceived that a US or NATO response to a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine “threatens [Russia’s] long-term national security,” according to a DHS intelligence bulletin obtained by CNN.

The Russian conflict could also have an impact on the spread of misinformation and disinformation in the United States.

DHS Intelligence Chief John Cohen said escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine could exacerbate the threat environment in the United States, particularly with regard to Russian disinformation campaigns and “active measurement techniques”, referring to the long-standing methods of political warfare used by Russia.

Russia has maintained a “sustained level of activity” related to disinformation campaigns and influence operations in the United States, according to Cohen, who spoke earlier this month at a program event. George Washington University on extremism.

Previously, Russia’s influence operations focused primarily on promoting narratives associated with Covid-19, the 2020 election, and issues related to immigration and race in the United States.

As tension with Ukraine skyrocketed, DHS observed an increase in Russian promotion of narratives trying to lay the blame for the Ukraine crisis “on the feet of the United States,” he said.