The European Central Bank is warning banks to be ready for a potential Russian-sponsored cyberattack as tensions about Ukraine mount ever higher. Reuters reported that two people with knowledge of the matter said the region is bracing for a conflict’s financial impact.

The stand-off between Russia and Ukraine has Europe’s political class and business leaders trepidatious. They all fear that an invasion would be damaging for the whole region.

Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron took a stab at diplomacy by meeting with Putin after Russia massed troops on the border with Ukraine.

The ECB wants banks to be ready

The meeting with Macron was overshadowed by a gigantic conference table that created an almost comical distance between the leaders.

The European Central Bank, led by Christine Lagarde (former French minister), has oversight over Europe’s biggest lenders and is on alert for threats of cyber-attacks with Russian origins on banks. The regulator’s attention has been on scams that cropped up in alarming numbers during the pandemic.

However, the potential of a conflict in Ukraine has diverted that attention to cyber-attacks coming from Russia, and according to the sources, the ECB has asked banks about their defence readiness.

A global concern

The New York Department of Financial Services issued an alert to financial institutions in late January, warning that Russia could launch retaliatory cyberattacks in the event of an invasion of Ukraine, which would trigger US sanctions.

The EU, Britain, and the US warned Russia not to invade after Putin put around 100,000 troops on the Ukraine border. Earlier this year, many Ukrainian websites were hit by a cyberattack that left a message saying, ‘be afraid and expect the worst’ as Russian troops were coming to the border.