Russia/Ukraine Cyber War : The Cyber War Accompanying Conventional Warfare in Ukraine

Sgt. Eric Gerst (3rd from right), a paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade, rides in addition to Soldiers from the Ukrainian national guard’s 3029th Regiment during a platoon live-fire exercise June 6, 2015, as part of Fearless Guardian in Yavoriv, Ukraine. Moreover, Paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade are in Ukraine for the first of several planned rotations to train Ukraine’s newly-formed national guard as part of Fearless Guardian, which is scheduled to last six months. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Alexander Skripnichuk, 13th Public Affairs Detachment)

Russia/Ukraine Cyber War : The Cyber War Accompanying Conventional Warfare in Ukraine 2022 is already shaping up to be the year of the hacker, as cyberattacks have come fast and furious from all ends of the earth. Since early January, with tensions building between Russia and Ukraine, a flurry of Russian-based attacks has targeted all sectors of the Ukrainian economy and beyond.

Growing Domestic Cyber Threats

Now that Russia has launched a full-scale military operation, hackers have ramped up their operations as well, leading to malware and ransomware attacks against organizations in Ukraine and other NATO and EU countries in attempts to destroy critical public and private sector computer systems.

According to a recent alert from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency or CISA, which itself is a subdivision of the Department of Homeland Security or DHS: 

  • On January 15, 2022, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) disclosed that malware, known as WhisperGate, was being used to target organizations in Ukraine. According to Microsoft, WhisperGate is intended to be destructive and is designed to render targeted devices inoperable. 
  • On February 23, 2022, several cybersecurity researchers disclosed that malware known as HermeticWiper was being used against organizations in Ukraine. According to SentinelLabs, the malware targets Windows devices, manipulating the master boot record, which results in subsequent boot failure. 

Attacks involving malware are expected to target the international community in response to the almost universal condemnation being levied at Russia for their unprovoked attack against Ukraine. At this time, entities across the globe should be shoring up their cyber defenses in anticipation of future attacks. 

In an effort to mitigate damages from cyber-attacks and go on the offensive against Russia, a group of volunteers known as the IT Army of Ukraine has been posting updates to their more than 230,000 followers on a Telegram channel. They have recently taken to listing targets that hackers are likely to hit, including Russian banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.

What is Double-Extortion Hacking?

As of Monday, Ukraine’s Security Service of Ukraine or SBU officially started recruiting hackers with a message on its telegram channel, saying

“CYBER FRONT IS NOW OPEN! Help Ukrainian cyber experts hack occupant’s platforms!”

The agency is also looking for tips on vulnerabilities in Russia’s cyber defenses, including any software bugs or high-level login credentials.

In the weeks leading up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine there was also an uptick in the deployment of Trojans targeting EU banking and financial entities. Moreover, these infections quietly infiltrate, then collect valuable information. They often are a preferred tool of what are known as Advanced Persistent Threat Groups or APTs.

On the legitimate business side of cybersecurity

Defense and cybersecurity stocks are rising as investors are now aware that the EU has pledged to boost cybersecurity and defense spending, and those investors in those sectors are betting on big gains as a result of the conflict.

Julio is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. Julio’s writing focuses on cybersecurity and politics. Websites including Newsmax, Townhall, American Thinker and BizPacReview have published Julio’s work.

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Russia/Ukraine Cyber War : The Cyber War Accompanying Conventional Warfare in Ukraine