A handful of hacker groups aligned with the Russian government have carried out hundreds of cyber attacks against Ukraine since Moscow attacked, U.S. tech giant Microsoft said in a report Wednesday.
It added that in “hybrid” warfare tactics, Russia often matches cyber attacks with military attacks on the battlefield.
“Starting shortly before the invasion, we have seen at least six separate Russian-aligned state actors launch more than 237 operations against Ukraine,” said Microsoft, which works with Ukrainian cybersecurity experts and private companies to tackle such attacks.
It said the cyber war included “ongoing destructive attacks and threatening the welfare of civilians.”
In the first week of the invasion, the report said Russian hackers attacked major Ukrainian media broadcasters on “the same day the Russian military announced its intention to destroy Ukrainian ‘disinformation’ targets and ordered a missile attack on TV towers in Kyiv.”
It said the purpose of such coordinated attacks was to “disrupt or degrade the functions of the Ukrainian government and military and undermine public confidence in the same institutions.”
Microsoft said it had tracked nearly 40 destructive cyber attacks, targeting hundreds of systems, a third of which had directly targeted Ukrainian government organizations at all levels, from national to local, while another 40 percent pursued critical infrastructure.
Part of this is a so -called “wiper attack” that erases important data in a hacked computer system.
Hackers use various techniques to gain access to Ukrainian systems, such as “phishing, use of unpatched vulnerabilities and compromising upstream IT service providers.”
“These actors often modify their malware with each use to evade detection,” the report said, noting that cyber -attackers had begun preparing their campaigns as early as March 2021, nearly a year before President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to attack Ukraine.
“When the Russian military started moving to the border with Ukraine, we saw efforts to gain early access to targets that could provide intelligence on Ukraine’s military and foreign partnerships,” he said.
Microsoft noted that “the possible attacks we observed are only a small part of the activity targeting Ukraine.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by AGRASMARTCITY staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)