After Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Thursday, the U.S. government has warned companies and local governments to brace themselves for possible Russian cyber attacks. As these warnings mount, cybersecurity companies have seen their stocks climb in Thursday trading.

The share prices for a number of cybersecurity firms began to climb after news emerged that Russia began its attacks on Ukraine. Telos, a Virginia-based company, saw its share price rise by 14%. It was joined by California-based Palo Alto Networks, which saw about a 10% gain. Crowdstrike and Mandiant, two of the cybersecurity firms that detected Russian cyber activities during the 2016 U.S presidential election, also saw their stocks go up by 8% and 6%, respectively. 

For weeks, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been warning state, local and private sector actors about the possibility of Russian cyberattacks on their networks as Russian troops gathered along the border with Ukraine. 

On Feb. 18, Biden administration officials met with banking executives to brief them about the risks they may face from Russian cyber actors. The latest warning arrived on Tuesday when cyber officials from the FBI reached out to warn local governments and businesses to be mindful of risks that may come from Russian ransomware attacks.

Russian hackers launched crippling ransomware attacks on U.S. and global corporations in 2021, contributing to Biden's decision to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva to discuss how to cooperate on cybercrimes. With the Russian army now in Ukraine and Biden promising a serious response through sanctions, it is expected that Russian actors may retaliate through cyberspace.

In a bulletin shared by the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber division, titled “Shields Up,” the agency warned that every organization in the U.S. is at risk from cyber threats from Russia. It noted that there was no specific credible threat to the U.S., but it urged every organization to prepare for the worst.

The message appears to be resonating with several of the U.S. government’s warning recipients. On Feb. 23, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the creation of a Joint Security Operations Center that will coordinate state-wide efforts to protect critical infrastructure from cyber threats. 

In her remarks made alongside New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Hochul said that the center’s creation was in response to “geopolitical uncertainty” without naming Russia. She urged New Yorkers to take increased precautions to protect their systems and assured them that her administration was in regular contact with the White House and DHS. 

"Act as if you know the attack is coming because if it comes and you are not ready it can be devastating," Hochul said at a press conference.