Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

On Wednesday, Microsoft said at least six Kremlin-linked hacking groups conducted nearly 240 cyber operations against Ukrainian targets, in data showing a broader range of attacks. alleged Russian cyber attack in the war in Ukraine compared to what has been previously recorded.

“Russia’s use of cyberattacks is closely correlated and sometimes directly timed with its military activities,” said Tom Burt, vice president of Microsoft.

The Microsoft report is the most comprehensive public record of Russian hacking efforts related to the war in Ukraine. It fills some gaps in the public’s understanding of where Russia’s lauded cyber capabilities have been deployed during the war.

Burt cites a cyberattack on a Ukrainian broadcasting company on March 1, the same day as a Russian missile attack on a TV tower in Kyiv, and malicious emails sent addressed to Ukrainians who falsely claim that the Ukrainian government has “abandoned” them in the midst of a Russian siege. the city of Mariupol.

The Microsoft report says Russian hackers are suspected of “working to infiltrate organizations in regions across Ukraine” and may have gathered intelligence about the country’s military partnerships. Ukraine months before the full-blown invasion in February, Microsoft reports.

Russia’s military attacks on Ukraine sometimes “correlate with cyberattacks, especially when it involves attacks on telecommunications infrastructure in some regions,” said Victor Zhora, a senior Ukrainian government cyber official, told reporters on Wednesday.

In the weeks following Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine, some US experts and officials have been surprised that no Russian cyberattack has caused more significant disruption or impairment in the country. Possible explanations range from the disorganization of Russia’s military plan to bolster Ukraine’s defenses to the fact that bombs and bullets take precedence over hacking in wartime.

But a series of alleged Russian and Belarusian hacks aimed at destabilizing Ukraine have actually taken place, with some appearing weeks after they took place. Some hacking attempts have been more successful than others.

A multi-pronged cyberattack at the beginning of the war brought down internet service for tens of thousands of satellite modems in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe; CNN previously reported that US officials were investigating what could be a Russian state-sponsored hack.

More background information: Earlier this month, a hacking group with links to the Russian military targeted a Ukrainian power substation in a break-in that, if successful, could cut power to 2 million people, according to officials. Ukraine. But while the same hacking group succeeded in cutting power in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016, the recent cyberattack did not affect the power supply at the targeted power company, according to Zhora.

NATO officials David Cattler and Daniel Black have documented a series of alleged Russian data erasure attacks against Ukrainian organizations over several weeks.

“If observers see this cyberattack as an isolated sequence of events, its scale and strategic significance would disappear in the wake of the usual riots taking place in Ukraine,” Cattler and Black said. wrote in Foreign Affairs this month. “But the full accounting of cyber activities shows the active and continuous use of cyberattacks in support of Russian military objectives.”

Officials from the White House, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies have worked closely with their Ukrainian counterparts to try to defend against Russian aggression and better understand Russian capabilities. could be used against America.

“Unfortunately, Ukraine has become a playground for cyberweapons over the past eight years,” Zhora said. “And now we see that some technology has been tested or some organized attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure continue in other states.”

Zhora touts the resilience of Ukraine’s cyber defenders.

Mr. Zhora said on Wednesday Russian hackers “continue to be dangerous”. “They continue to threaten democracies, threaten Ukraine’s cyberspace. However, I don’t think they can scale their cyber-warriors or they can use some of the technology altogether. could attack Ukraine’s infrastructure.”

CNN asked the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., for comment on the Microsoft report.

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