Ukraine is a ‘training ground’ for Russian hacking attacks against the West

The Russians are honing battle skills and strategies with their support of ‘rebel forces’ in eastern Ukraine who are battling government troops, but that includes more than just conventional weapons.

Russia is also using the Ukraine fight to test its offensive cyber capabilities as a “training ground” for future attacks on Western targets.

Oleksii Yasinsky, a forensic analyst at Kyiv cyber security firm ISSP, says that Russian hackers are using Ukraine to “hone technologies, mastery and attack techniques” for bigger targets – such as Europe and the U.S.

“It will be a quiet attack,” he said, adding: “Whoever controls cyber-space will control the world.”

In June 2017, more than 300 Ukrainian companies were victims of the global cyber-attack dubbed NotPetya, which is believed to have been sponsored by the Russian government.

The country also suffered power cuts in December 2015 and 2016, attributed to a hacker group called Sandworm, also believed to be a Russian state-aligned entity.

“We know Russia are up to no good in terms of their cyber-capability and I’m afraid it will only get worse,” Jamal Elmellas, CTO at Auriga Consulting, said. “It’s now part of a conventional war tool chest where they will soften targets in preparation for a physical attack.” [source]

Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 2:  What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four flashpoints? To subscribe to one of our threat intelligence newsletters: Click here.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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