Cyber Security Lessons From The Ukraine War

After a lengthy military buildup on Ukraine’s borders, on 24 February 2022, Russian President  Putin finally ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine and as the war escalates, cyber security has grown in significance. 

Numerous organisations, commercial businesses and many individuals are taking action in defence of Ukraine  by contributing various technological resources in which cyber security playa a vital role. 

According to US and UK government assessments, the Russian offensive has a major cyber component that could potentially affect parties in multiple locations, including Ukraine, NATO countries, and their allies.  Indeed, by the beginning of March 2022, before the military campaign began, there had been over 150 cyber attacks on Ukraine. Microsoft's Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) reports that it detected "destructive cyberattacks directed against Ukraine's digital infrastructure" hours before the first launch of missiles or movement of tanks. 

Over a few weeks the conflict has become both a kinetic and digital war, with horrifying images from across Ukraine as well as less visible cyber attacks on computer networks and Internet-based disinformation campaigns. 

Cyber security in space is another emerging front. Since the end of the  Cold War, Russia, NATO, and the United States have favoured cooperation in this arena while retaining neutrality, however, space is likely to be the next focus of cyber warfare, with many potential threats such as hacking satellites

The current conflict highlights how important it is  for companies, organisations  and even entire nations  to secure their networks.

As security experts have been monitoring Russia’s cyber activity for years, various hacker groups, like Anonymous, are now actively participating in the conflict. This is a new phenomenon concerning hacker groups, which are actually expanding the battlefield out of geographical boundaries. Streaming and television services were also targeted as part of the attack and even the Kremlin’s main website was hacked.

Cyber attacks on Ukrainian have including the financial sector, agriculture, emergency response services, humanitarian aid efforts, as well as the energy sector organisations and enterprises. 

At a personal level, citizens are also learning that it is essential to perform multiple authentication procedures, change passwords frequently, and restrict access to information, since today, it is clear that one mistake is enough to bring down an entire security system. 

Other types of cyberwar are more open and official. Meta, the company that owns Facebook, has blocked some Russian media on its platforms. In retaliation, Russia has limited access to Facebook.

All these attacks are essentially attacks on civilians  and raise serious concerns under the Geneva Convention. 

Defacement attacks that delete information on websites or change the information that appears there are a basic misinformation tactic that can mislead the general public into thinking fake information is reliable.  It's one of the oldest  tactics of warfare, when actors in a war flood a civilian population with misleading information and ts effect is largely psychological, but very powerful.

Microsoft:     I-HLS:      Harvard Business Review:    Accenture:     DW

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