Ukraine warns of ‘massive’ Russian cyberattacks against critical infrastructure

By drafting a new United Nations cybercrime treaty, Russia and China seek to legitimize authoritarian internet control and undermine digital human rights.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry warned on Monday that Russia is planning to launch massive cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, particularly targeting the energy sector, in an attempt to slow down Ukrainian counteroffensives.

The advisory said that the cyberattacks will aim to increase the effectiveness of Russia’s missile strike operations on electricity supply facilities, primarily located in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.

“The occupying command is convinced that this will slow down the offensive operations of the Ukrainian Defence Forces,” the ministry said in the advisory.

The agency added that Russia also intends to carry out more distributed denial-of-service attacks targeting the critical infrastructure of Ukraine’s closest allies, including Poland and the Baltic states. 

Ukraine and its allies have been testing grounds for Russia’s cyber operations since the onset of the war. 

A Microsoft report, released in May, revealed that Russian-backed hackers had launched more than 200 cyberattacks against Ukraine since the start of the year, including nearly 40 destructive ones that targeted the country’s government organizations and critical sectors.

While some attacks against Ukraine were successful, others failed. In April, Ukraine said it successfully thwarted a Russian cyberattack intended to disrupt the country’s power grid. The attempted attack was aiming to hit computers controlling an energy firm’s high-voltage substations. 

Ukrainian officials said the hackers behind the thwarted attack were affiliated with Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU. 

Russia has also been accused of targeting NATO members, including MontenegroEstonia and Lithuania, with cyberattacks.

Although not yet a NATO member, Finland was also recently hit with a cyberattack that targeted its parliament’s website. The attack coincided with President Biden’s move to admit Finland and Sweden to NATO. 

Monday’s advisory also follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to mobilize 300,000 military troops to fight in the war, after Ukraine has reclaimed thousands of square kilometers of occupied territory with recent counteroffensives.

Tags Biden cyber attacks Russia-Ukraine war

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