The United States’ cybersecurity agency is warning western nations to “increase their cyber vigilance” and prepare for potential online attacks to mark the anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an alert Friday saying malicious actors may launch “disruptive and defacement attacks against websites in an attempt to sow chaos and societal discord.”The agency advises all organizations to review guidance on how to protect against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, as well as its Shields Up series of public cybersecurity resources launched after Russia launched its invasion last year.The alert does not specifically name Russia or any other state-sponsored group. Story continues below advertisement CISA’s warning comes a month after its Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, alerted Canadian defence and critical infrastructure providers to “adopt a heightened state of vigilance” amid reports of Russian-linked cyberattacks targeting governments supporting Ukraine.That message came in response to an attack launched by Russian activist hackers that knocked several German websites offline, in what is widely perceived as a response to Berlin’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine. Trending Now The German government had begun allowing other western governments, including Canada, to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks supplied by Germany — a move Moscow has publicly stated would be viewed as an escalation of the conflict.The West has been forced to adopt a heightened stance against cyber threats since before the full-scale war broke out on Feb. 24, 2022. Moscow-backed hackers have targeted Ukraine and western nations with cyberattacks in an attempt to destabilize resistance to the invasion. 2:21 Massive cyber attack warns Ukraine to ‘expect the worst’ amid tensions with Russia Most notably, the U.S. and the European Union determined Russia was responsible for an attack that crippled a satellite network in Europe hours before the first missiles hit Ukraine. The attack cut off broadband internet connections in Ukraine and froze energy and military infrastructure in Europe. Story continues below advertisement Last January, Global Affairs Canada suffered what it called a “cyber incident” that sources told Global News may have been conducted by Russia or Russian-backed hackers. The incident disrupted the agency’s network for days.Western officials say the Russian government is a global leader in hacking and uses cyber espionage against foreign governments and industries to seek a competitive advantage. However, Moscow has consistently denied that it carries out hacking operations. © 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.