Posted on April 23, 2022 at 7:28 PM
Hackers have claimed to have infiltrated dozens of Russian institutions over the past two months. the group said they also broke into Kremlin’s internet censor and leaked internal documents and emails to the public.
This is coming as the Ukrainian government begins efforts to punish Russia over the massacre of civilians in Bucha, Ukraine. The details include the names of the Russians that perpetuated the act, the agents of the F.S.B Russian intelligence agency, as well as the passport numbers and email addresses of the agents.
It’s not clear whether the details were part of the hacks or how the Ukrainian government obtained the names.
The Files Could Contain Malware of Manipulated Information
However, most of the data the hackers and the Ukrainian government released are impossible to verify, due to their nature.
Also, the threat actors that distribute the data have warned that the swiped files from the Russian institutions may contain faked or manipulated information, malware, and other Trojans.
Additionally, some of the data could have been taken from previous hacking incidents and presented as new to increase their credibility. There is also a possibility that some of the data may have been formed, which happened in the past during the cyber conflict between Ukraine and Russia ten years ago.
Researchers say the hacking efforts seem to be part of a campaign by Ukraine supporters who are opposing the Kremlin. It’s also aimed at planting a seed of fear in the Russian soldiers that they could be charged and held accountable for any human rights abuses they commit in Ukraine.
Founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, Dmitri Alperovitch, stated that there is a need to stay skeptical about the reliability of some of the hacking leaked files.
He stated that the hacking campaign has shown that in the present age of pervasive cyber-attacks and digital knowledge, no one can hide under any government to carry out heinous crimes without being identified. “No one can hide and avoid identification for egregious war crimes for long,” he stated.
Ukraine Partners With Amateur Hackers On The Cyberwar
The leak also showed that Ukraine is willing to partner with several cyber groups, including amateur hackers, as it engages in a cyberwar with Russia.
Last month, Ukrainian officials sought support from volunteers for a hacking project against Russia. The government has made it open for anyone interested in joining the group, and it has received responses from several parts of the world. The Ukrainian government has also been publishing documents about its opponents on official websites.
The Ukrainian government opened a channel on messaging platform Telegram that provides a list of targets for the volunteers. The channel now has more than 288,000 members who registered from all over the world.
Cybersecurity researchers and intelligence officials in the US say they believe that the Russian hackers have been divided into at least two different groups, each of the groups having separate tasks. It s believed that the Conti hacking group has pledged to the Russian president Vladimir V. Putin. The group was hacked in late February.
Other hackers from Eastern Europe have been angered by the Russian invasion, particularly the recent killings of civilians in the war. They have thrown their support behind Ukraine and its government.
The Hackers Have Also Shifted Tactics
Earlier, the cyber warriors were targeting Russian websites and knocking them offline. They were offering more support to Russian citizens, providing them with more details of the war. Russians have been denied access to Western media as the government wants to prevent them from getting any different information about the war different from the ones being propagated by Russian media.
As a result, the first phase of the attack by the Ukrainian supporters was to disrupt the Russian websites that provide such information. They installed “wiper” malware that permanently deletes data from computer networks. But the hackers have expanded their operations and are now targeting serious Russian facilities as a retaliation to the attack by Russian-sponsored hackers on Ukraine’s critical facilities.
Recently, Russian hackers seemed to have launched attacks that could have shut down military communications or turned off the electricity. But the Ukrainian government stated that the attack was unsuccessful as it was blocked before any damage could be done. As the physical war continues in Ukraine, Russian hackers and Ukraine hackers are also fighting the war in cyberspace. This could continue as long as the ongoing war lasts, and even beyond.