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War in Ukraine: kyiv seeks to add hackers to its ranks on the front lines

The government has managed to assemble a cybernetic army of around 200,000 volunteers that it now wants to incorporate into its armed forces.

It was a few days after deploying its ground troops to fight the invasion of Russia that Ukraine began recruiting volunteers to wage a battle against Moscow in cyberspace.

This initiative culminated in the creation of the IT Army of Ukraine (Ukrainian Cyber ​​Army), a division created by the Ministry of Digital Affairs in March 2022 with the goal of disrupt the IT infrastructure of Russia and Belarus.

Currently made up of about 200,000 volunteer hackers from all over the world, the Ukrainian government now wants to follow in the footsteps of other European countries and pass legislation to incorporate this cybernetic reserve into its Armed Forces officially.

Among other things, this law would allow the Ukrainian government to turn these hackers’ attacks against Russia into legal actions.

Build a cyber army

Until now, only Finland and Estonia had a cyber force of foreign reservists to support their regular armies in case of cyber attacks.

Other EU countries, such as France, have preferred to create highly specialized military units in charge, for example, of monitoring the network, or capable of carrying out cyber retaliation in the event of a major attack on critical IT infrastructures.

“The law on the creation and operation of cyber forces in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense should be approved as soon as possible“, recently stated Nataliya Tkachuk, secretary of the National Cyber ​​Security Coordination Center of Ukraine, in an interview with the American weekly Newsweek.

Not everyone agrees with this strategy. Among the detractors is Danien Bancal, founder of the website Zataz.com and a specialist in cybercrime and cybersecurity, who affirms that incorporating these groups of voluntary hackers into the ranks of the army Is it a bad idea.

This cyber army offers several digital tools to netizens. He started by providing internet addresses to attack. Later, she published specialized websites in which Internet users, by staying connected, sent requests for a massive ‘attack’ against Russia from their computers. The command of the Ukrainian cyber-army also offered to download automated attack software to be installed directly on one’s own computer,” he said in an interview with Radio France International (RFI).

“The risk to users is that they provide this program with the resources of their machine and connection without any means of control. This can have dramatic consequences for the user, but also for the digital infrastructure of your country. In addition, those who improvise as cyber soldiers from their living room should quickly understand that the war in Ukraine, even if it is digital, It’s not a video game at all“, emphasizes the expert.

A hard-to-identify “patriotic hack”

The Zataz website has already identified about a hundred of these “groups” of amateur hackers who have launched cyberguerrilla actions. Some hackers declare themselves pro-Ukrainian, others claim to be acting on behalf of Russia, or even appear under a Chinese flag. It is impossible to determine with certainty whether these attackers are operating on behalf of one side or the other.

Russia is considering enacting a similar law, proposing to legalize “patriotic hacking,” which would be carried out by various pro-Russian groups to harass state institutions in Europe and the United States. However, it should be noted that these actions, whether they come from Russia or from other countries, have not been successful yet.

Source: RFI

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