Tech

Microsoft says Russia launched 237 cyberattacks on Ukraine

Microsoft reveals that Russia has deployed 237 cyberattacks against Ukraine since the start of the conflict. Russian hackers have notably launched dangerous malware against state infrastructure and power plants. The bases of these attacks were organized more than a year before the entry of Kremlin troops into Ukraine.

Since the entry of Russian tanks into Ukraine, the country has been the victim of a series of large-scale cyberattacks. In parallel with its military operations, the Kremlin deploys dangerous malware against Ukrainian infrastructure. While the soldiers struggle to progress, hackers in the service of Moscow try to destabilize the country by increasing computer attacks.

In an article published on its official website on April 27, 2022, Microsoft revealed the extent of cyberattacks carried out by Russia’s shadow army. The American giant reveals, in a detailed report, how Russian hackers lead a cyber war against Ukraine. “These actions are intended to undermine Ukraine’s political will and ability to continue the fight, while facilitating the collection of intelligence that could provide tactical or strategic advantages to Russian forces.”explains Microsoft in its report.

Russia is waging a cyber war against Ukraine

Since the announcement of a “special military operation” by Vladimir Putin, Microsoft counted 237 cyberattacks deployed against Ukrainian infrastructure. These attacks were organized by 6 groups of hackers mandated by Moscow, underlines Tom Burt, vice-president in charge of security at Microsoft. “It is likely that the attacks we have observed are only a fraction of the activity targeting Ukraine”says Tom Burt.

These cyberattacks are correlated and “timed” depending on the military attacks of the Russian army. Concretely, the Russian leaders use pirates to facilitate the progress of their soldiers on Ukrainian soil. These numerous attacks have degraded the functioning of state services and prevent Ukrainians from accessing “reliable information and essential life services”. According to kyiv, Russia has launched cyberattacks in particular in order to take control of the country’s power plants.

“32% of destructive attacks directly targeted Ukrainian government organizations”, emphasizes Tom Burt. To achieve their ends, Russian hackers use techniques such as phishing, the exploitation of security vulnerabilities or malware. Among the computer viruses used by Moscow are dangerous malware like WhisperGate/WhisperKill, FoxBlade, SonicVote, CaddyWiper, Industroyer2 and FiberLake. Many of these viruses are designed to destroy data stored by a victim or take control of sensitive information. In some cases, the data is also encrypted to prevent access.

Microsoft specifies that the Russian invasion was prepared upstream by groups of hackers as early as March 2021. A year before the entry of the army into Ukraine, hackers intensified their “actions against inside or allied organizations”. In anticipation of future cyberattacks, hackers have infiltrated into the country’s supply chain and in certain NATO infrastructures.

According to the American group, it is inevitable that cyberattacks targeting Ukraine will increase in the near future. “We believe cyberattacks will continue to escalate as the conflict rages on”estimates Tom Burt, assuring that the Russian pirates “could be tasked with expanding their destructive actions outside of Ukraine”. Moscow could indeed decree reprisals against the countries which show their support for the government of Volodomir Zelensky.

Ukraine strikes back with an army of pirates and the help of the Anonymous collective

To respond to Russian computer attacks, Ukraine has set up an army of hackers. These hand-picked hackers are responsible for protecting the nation’s infrastructure. The pirate army also organize raids in the hope of destabilizing the invader. For the sake of efficiency, the Ukrainian computer militia has created sites that allow anyone to participate in an attack against Russia.

In its cyber war against Russia, Ukraine can also count on support from Anonymous. The collection of hackers has multiplied attacks against Russian services since the first strikes. Anonymous notably revealed the personal information of 1,200 Russian soldiers deployed in Ukraine, hacked the servers of Russia’s secret services and the agency in charge of censorship.

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