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Assemblyman Christian Barranco. (Photo: Christian Barranco).

Barranco warns of cybersecurity threat as Russia-Ukraine war rages

By Joey Fox, February 25 2022 12:51 pm

Assemblyman Christian Barranco (R-Jefferson) said today that as the world focuses its attention on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, New Jersey should prepare itself for potential cyberattacks from Russia.

“Our state and region are at a high risk with a newly aggressive Russia led by Dictator Putin,” Barranco said in a statement. “I’m calling for needed safeguards and hardening of our utilities, personal and private data centers, as well as our financial data operations. We are, of course, the home of Jersey City which is now known as ‘West Wall Street.’”

“This is everyone’s problem,” he continued. “While bad Russian actors may not hack into a personal computer, it’s difficult to use a computer if the power grid has been shut down and the internet is out. Be vigilant.”

Barranco’s comments echoed those of Gov. Phil Murphy, who said on Wednesday – before the full-scale invasion began – that his administration was mindful of the possibility of a cybersecurity threat.

“We are at a very heightened state of alert and defense on cyber[security], and that includes not just state government and agencies but also working with our private sector players and obviously working with our federal partners,” Murphy said.

Barranco’s colleague in the legislature, State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), has said he will introduce legislation to bar New Jersey’s public entities from doing business with Russia; when the legislature reconvenes next week after a week off, more legislation may be forthcoming.

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