Russian military hackers have targeted Ukrainian soldiers’ mobile devices in an attempt to steal important information from the battlefield, the United States and its allies warned on 31 August.
Details: The new advisory by the US and its Five Eyes allies – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK – confirms a report by Ukraine’s Security Service that found Russian hackers had attempted to infiltrate Android tablets used by the Ukrainian military to “plan and execute combat missions”.
The Security Service stated that the Russian hackers’ malicious code was designed to steal data sent from soldiers’ mobile devices to the Starlink satellite system, manufactured by billionaire Elon Musk’s company.
It is unclear how successful the hacking attack was.
The Security Service stated that it had “blocked” some of the hacking attempts but also acknowledged that the Russians had “seized” tablets on the battlefield and installed malware on them.
“Mobile malware is particularly insidious because it can give intelligence services the physical locations of targets,” said John Hultquist, Chief Analyst at Google-owned security firm Mandiant.
Hultquist said this capability can be “extremely effective on the battlefield”.
The US and its allies blame Russia’s Military Intelligence hacking unit, known as Sandworm, for the cyberattacks. It is allegedly responsible for cyberattacks that led to power outages in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016.
Pro-Ukrainian hackers are also trying to leave their mark in this war. The Ukrainian government encouraged thousands of volunteer hackers to conduct attacks on Russian assets in Ukraine and Russia.
CNN noted that the true scale and aftermath of Russian cyber operations in Ukraine are difficult to assess in the “fog of war”, as both sides are interested in exaggerating their successes.
Reference: The hacking campaign is taking place during the Ukrainian counteroffensive, where the Kremlin can use information from the battlefield for its purposes.
Russian intelligence services have been launching cyberattacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure since the beginning of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. For example, Russian intelligence conducted hacker attacks aimed at destroying data in the Ukrainian energy and transport infrastructure.
Although some hacker attacks have forced Ukrainian government institutions and companies to turn into recovery mode, Kyiv’s digital defences have proved resilient.
General Paul Nakasone, Commander of United States Cyber Command, stated that in 2022, the US Armed Forces’ hacker unit conducted offensive cyber operations in support of Ukraine, which is defending itself from Russia.
Ukrainska Pravda is the place where you will find the most up-to-date information about everything related to the war in Ukraine. Follow us on Twitter, support us, or become our patron!