FBI agent says Russia uses cyber attacks against US, possible Minnesota victims

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The Ukraine war is half a world away, but a high-ranking FBI agent told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the effects could be hitting much closer to home than you think.

FBI agent, Michael Paul, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in a one-on-one interview three weeks ago that “Russia is using that [the Ukraine war] as sort of an impetus to, again, conduct attacks on entities in the United States.”

Paul made that statement, and others, on Aug. 3 when he was the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Minneapolis Field Office. He has since been promoted to Assistant Director of the Operational Technology Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Paul said Russia would cast a wide net across the U.S. looking for potential cyber financial targets, and some of those could end up being individuals, corporations, or small businesses. They could also end up snaring Minnesota companies, or individuals, in that wide net with hopes of creating chaos, using up resources, and possibly using any stolen money for the war or other agendas.

“The more we’re focused here, the more resources we’re using domestically, the less resources and focus are available for us to assist Ukraine or to work to counter the aggression of Russia,” said Paul. “So, that conflict is certainly driving criminal activity within the United States.”

When asked if Russia could be operating and committing those cyberattacks against individuals, companies, and small businesses here in Minnesota, Paul responded, “absolutely.”

Paul said companies, even small businesses, should contact the Minneapolis Field Office because the bureau will partner with those firms to help them protect their financial interests before a cyberattack occurs.

Additionally, Paul said that if you think you’ve been victimized by a cyberattack, even if you’re an individual, you should contact the FBI Minneapolis Field Office immediately.