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Signs of the times.
Hybrid warfare and attacks in Ukraine's cyberspace


Signs of the times. Hybrid warfare and attacks in Ukraine's cyberspace.


We are in the 21st century and a different war than in the past, although in many ways similar - still involving the bloodshed of innocents and the humiliation of citizens of the country which takes itself as an enemy.

The brutal invasion of Ukraine is underway. What does the Russian attack look like and how is our eastern neighbor defending itself our eastern neighbor from the aggressor?

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Hybrid war against Ukraine.


The invasion of Ukraine bears the hallmarks of hybrid warfare. As Arsalan Bilal explains: "...hybrid warfare involves the interaction or combination of conventional and unconventional instruments of force and diversion. The said instruments or tools are combined in a synchronized manner to exploit the weaknesses of the adversary and achieve a synergistic effect."

Thus, in addition to armed forces and operations terrorist and diversionary activities, we have disinformation actions in the media and attacks in cyberspace. Let's deal with the latter.

Cyber attack predictions in 2022


As early as November 2021, Eset researchers predicted an intensification of attacks in cyberspace emphasizing their increasing politicization. They probably did not have the aggression against Ukraine in mind at the time, although they could not fail to note such operations back in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.

Among the predictions for 2022 are serious cyber threats linked to devices mobile devices. They have always been the target of attacks by cybercriminals, who either steal valuable information or introduced disinformation and inconvenience to users.

"Cyber criminals will continue to take advantage of remote work. Attackers will continue to exploit unsecured or unpatched computers of people working remotely to infiltrate corporate networks. We will continue to observe social engineering used to steal credentials and brute force attacks on corporate services to gain access to poorly protected servers."

What about hybrid warfare and attacks on other countries in cyberspace?

Here the vision is quite optimistic, but there is still no end in sight to aggressive violent cyber attacks. "States will clearly define acceptable cyberattack practices. (...) some countries will publish their own taxonomy of cyber attacks, distinguishing the acceptable types of activities of this type."

Time will tell.

For now, we have open conflict and invasion in Ukraine.
How is she doing in cyberspace?

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Cyber war in Ukraine


Just before Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory, they were attacked key institutions of state administration. The hackers used DDos (from Distributed Denial of Service, which in Polish means distributed denial of service). Servers were automatically filling up with illegally sent requests, which led to overloads and crashes. In addition, computers in Ukraine were invaded by wiper malware, capable of deleting huge amounts of data involuntarily. This type of attack under the name "NotPetya" already took place in 2017 and generated great damage damage to the Ukrainian economy.

That's why danger-conscious Ukraine is enlisting IT experts in its defense efforts. According to Reuters, the government is even turning to volunteers who would be capable of repelling attacks from Russian cyber-attackers, while developing effective counterattacks on the enemy's enemy's IT infrastructure.

Cyber help from outside

The response and desire for support is also coming from the world. The informal hacking movement "Anonymous" has declared digital war on the Kremlin and, most likely, thanks to it a number of Russian government services have been paralyzed a number of Russian government websites have been paralyzed. Cyber attacks have also targeted state broadcaster, the Kremlin's propaganda tool.

Aggressor wants to intimidate

Russia is not only attacking a critical IT structure. It is reaching for means of intimidation. By design, even before the invasion, it spread false information using operations cyber operations for modern psychological warfare.
"The goal was to alarm the population and break the willingness to resist," believes Sven Herpig, director of international cybersecurity policy at the New Responsibility Foundation.

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Summary of cyber attacks on Ukraine


  • Massive attacks on digital infrastructure preceding the invasion of Ukraine have been ongoing since February 15, 2022, hitting information resources state administration and banking systems. Their goal is to cause even more destabilization.

  • Another target is the Polish-Ukrainian border crossings, Where a huge slowdown of border guards was evident and service systems to clear refugees.

  • In the digital sphere, DDoS and a new type of cyberweapon are being used for attacks - malware, or malicious software that causes damage to devices.

  • Cyber warfare is also large-scale disinformation campaigns designed to introduce confusion and fear, in which text messages urge residents to to behave neutrally and stay in their homes.

  • An attack via WhatsApp using ransomware and malicious files is likely with video attachments causing smartphones to be locked.

  • The world remains in solidarity with Ukraine in every space - the cyber one and the real one. Governments and citizens of many countries are organizing aid with great dedication, expecting a breakthrough and repulsion of the Russian aggressor.

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