Cybercrime on the rise as hackers use war in Ukraine as distraction

Internet hackers have become more active since Russian troops invaded neighboring Ukraine in late February, CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday.

In an interview with Mad Money, the cybersecurity chief said shady digital actors were trying to take advantage of the military conflict on the ground.

“E-crime has actually increased since the war started in Ukraine,” Kurtz argues, drawing on observations from the threat intelligence unit CrowdStrike, which he says provides information from 176 countries.

“Everyone is looking at the actors of the nation state, everyone is talking about Ukraine and Russia as they should be. It’s a terrible situation,” Kurtz said. “But the e-crime actors are looking at it as a distraction, stepping up their activities and stealing more money over time.”

Kurtz also appeared on Mad Money on Feb. 24, after Russian troops entered Ukraine to start nearly three weeks of bloody fighting. At the time, Kurtz told Kramer that he had heard from financial industry executives expressing concern about Russian cyberattacks in response to sanctions against the Kremlin and banks in the country.

Kurtz suggested that this is still the case, and industry players remember this.

“Now, given the geopolitical environment, a lot of attention is being paid to the financial services industry, which is expecting a certain level of retribution in connection with the sanctions that we have imposed on Russia,” he said.

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