HONOLULU (KHON2) — As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens destabilization of Europe, a former Marine Corps Intelligence Officer warns that impacts could come to the islands via cyber attacks.
The United States, closely watching Russia’s aggression, has sanctioned the country while President Joe Biden is expected to announce a response on Thursday.
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Russian President Vladamir Putin warned nations not to interfere in the invasion, saying they will face “consequences you have never seen.”
Retired Marine Corps Intelligence Officer Hal Kempfer thinks local governments and private entities across the nation are preparing for Russian cyber attacks.
“I would expect that they will try to do disruptive attacks across the US but particularly in Hawaii, because we have such a large military and defense structure there,” Kempfer said “So I would not be surprised if you see that — don’t be surprised to see major, major institutions, both public and private to banks and other things suddenly have a big ransomware problem,”
Hawaiian Electric has said that they are no stranger to cyberattacks, having spent millions every year on cyber security with 20% growth annually. They consider it a national security issue.
The chaos will also likely change how American troops are stationed across the globe, including many stationed in the islands.
This comes after the military’s Indo-Pacific primary fuel source, the 250 million gallon Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, had to stop operation due to the water contamination crisis.
“That will hinder military readiness. It was just such a cornerstone of what we do. In the Pacific that was such a gas. It’s difficult to figure out how we’re going to get around that,” said Kempfer.
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“And I think as time goes on, we may have to do something that nobody wants to talk about, but we may have to actually activate certain parts of Red Hill,” he added.