The head of the Cyber ​​Command said that US military hackers carried out offensive operations in support of Ukraine | Science & Technology News

The head of the US Cyber ​​Command has told Sky News that US military hackers have been conducting offensive operations in support of Ukraine.

In an exclusive interview, General Paul Nakasone also explains how separate “hunt-forward” operations have enabled USA to find foreign hackers and identify their tools before they are used against the US.

Speaking in Tallinn, Estonia, the general, who is also the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), told Sky News that he is concerned “every day” about the risk of a Russian cyber attack against the US. and said the hunt. Forward operations are an effective way to protect both the United States and its allies.

General Nakasone confirmed for the first time that the US was conducting hacking operations in support Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion.

He told Sky News: “We conducted a series of operations across the entire range; offensive, defensive, [and] information activities. “

The four-star general did not detail the operations, but explained how they were legal, conducted with purely civilian oversight of the military, and through policy decided at the Department of Defense.

“My job is to present a range of options to the Secretary of Defense and the President, and so that’s what I do,” he said. He declined to describe those options.

But he notes the opposite of RussiaBy conducting information operations by starting with a lie, the United States moves toward the strategic goal of telling the truth.

“A classic example is in 2020, when we see a bunch of different proxies, in this case troll farms, starting to grow in Africa,” he said.

General Paul Nakasone, nominee to lead the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber ​​Command, is sworn in before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2018. REUTERS / Aaron P. Bernstein
General Nakasone is also the director of the National Security Agency

The Cyber ​​Command and NSA shared this information with the FBI and also CNN, providing “an unexpected flashlight that exposes this kind of malicious behavior.”

General Nakasone added, revealing this strategy has been in development since 2018 and informed the Western response to the invasion of Ukraine.

“We had a chance to start talking about what specifically the Russians are trying to do in our midterm elections. We met that again in 2020, when we talked about it. what the Russians and Iranians would do, but this on a smaller scale.

“Our ability to share that information, to be able to make sure it is accurate, timely, and actionable on a broader scale is very, very powerful during this crisis,” he said.

Ukraine’s attractive resilience

General Nakasone disagreed with commentators who said the cyber aspects of Russia’s attack on Ukraine were overblown and praised the Kyiv government and its defenders for their resilience.

“If you ask the Ukrainians, they won’t say it’s overblown. If you look at the vandalism attacks and the disruptive attacks they’ve had – you wrote about the attack. there. [satellite company] Viasat – this is something that has been going on,” he added.

FILE PHOTO: Viasat offices are shown at the company's headquarters in Carlsbad, California, U.S. March 9, 2022. Photo taken March 9, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
Viasat offices at the company’s headquarters in Carlsbad, California

The general continued: “And we’ve seen this in regards to the attack on their satellite systems, ongoing wiper attacks, disruptive attacks against their processes. their government.

“This is the part that I think is sometimes overlooked by the public. It’s not that they’re not busy, they’re awfully busy. And I think, you know, their resilience is probably the most compelling story for me. all of us.”

Concerns about Russian attacks on the US

Asked about the risk of Russian attacks on the US, General Nakasone said: “We remain vigilant every day. Every day. I think about that all the time.”

“This is why we’re working with a range of partners to make sure we stop that, not just against the United States but against our allies,” he added.

General Nakasone gave an important speech at CyConan international conference on cyber conflict, hosted by the NATO Collaborative Cyber ​​Defense Center in Tallinn, and hailed the partnership between democratic states as an important strategic interest.

Moving forward – an operation developed under the leadership of General Nakasone – is an important aspect of the Cyber ​​Command partnership. It is “very powerful … because we see our enemies and we expose their tools”.

Read more:
US, UK and EU officially blame Russia for the cyber attack

Cyber ​​Command specialists have been deployed abroad to 16 other countries, where they can seek intelligence from allies’ computer networks – always on the basis of consensus, invitation, General Nakasone said.

Crucial to how the hunt works is that Cyber ​​Command shares the intelligence it finds with the host country.

“If you’re the enemy and you’ve just spent a lot of money on a tool and you’re hoping to use it easily in a number of different intrusions, suddenly it’s dropped and is now signed on a wide range of scopes. This general general said.

In such a hunting deployment, American military experts were present in Ukraine very close to the date of the invasion.

“We came in December 2021 at the invitation of the Kyiv government to come and hunt with them. We were there for a period of almost 90 days,” the general said.

A spokesman confirmed the team withdrew in February, along with other Defense Department personnel, before the invasion.

Sky News will be announcing the full feature set from our exclusive interview in the coming days.

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