Making ready for Armageddon: How Ukraine battles Russian hackers

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Preparing for Armageddon: How Ukraine battles Russian hackers

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For years, a small and disparate Ukrainian staff together with IT consultants, intelligence officers, and a felony prosecutor has saved a cautious eye on a bunch of hackers nicknamed Armageddon.

The hackers had been primarily based in Crimea, shielded by the Russian authorities, which had seized the area in 2014, and out of the attain of the Safety Service of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian staff watched Armageddon from afar to study the methods of its enemy. It quietly studied the hacking group’s cyber weapons, intercepted telephone calls, and even outed its purported leaders.

Armageddon just isn’t probably the most subtle of Russian government-affiliated hacking teams which have attacked Ukraine, however it’s among the many most prolific. In 5,000 totally different makes an attempt, it has unleashed ever more practical malware, hidden inside cleverly engineered emails to spy on Ukrainian authorities our bodies.

However following Russia’s invasion on February 24, its newest assaults have been parried thanks, largely, to Ukraine’s deep information of Armageddon’s signature strikes.

“What’s the finest time to check your enemy? Lengthy earlier than the combat,” stated a Western official who requested to not be named. “That is very true when you haven’t any selection however to react.”

In accordance with Western and Ukrainian officers, in addition to cyber safety consultants, the long-running monitoring and tackling of Armageddon is only one instance of a “persistent protection” that has enabled Ukraine to fend off an astounding variety of cyber assaults in latest weeks.

That has allowed the nation to point out the identical resilience on-line as its troops have on the bottom. This toughness comes from years of making ready for, and typically recovering from, subtle Russian cyber assaults, together with one which knocked out the facility provide to some Kyiv suburbs in 2015.

A 12 months later, retired US Navy Admiral Michael Rogers, who ran US Cyber Command and was the previous head of the Nationwide Safety Company, despatched the primary groups of American troopers to assist bolster Ukrainian cyber defenses. He stated the missions allowed the Individuals to concurrently “take a look at Russian tradecraft, take a look at Russian malware, take a look at the specifics of how Russian cyber entities are inclined to function.”

Earlier this month, that preparation paid off. Ukrainian officers, assisted by Western cyber safety firms, found high-grade malware from a unique hacking group, dubbed Sandworm, lurking inside computer systems at an influence station serving thousands and thousands.



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