Expansion of the battlefield: In November, Microsoft blamed Russia for October ransomware attacks on infrastructure companies in Ukraine and Poland aimed at targeting companies involved in providing military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Now the tech giant says the campaign could be “a warning that Russia is further expanding cyber attacks beyond Ukraine’s borders,” highlighting “countries and companies providing Ukraine with vital supply chains of aid and weapons this winter.”
The October attacks had limited success — Microsoft said local defenders and its own experts “helped limit the impact of the attack to less than 20% of a targeted organization’s network” — but Microsoft believes the Russian hackers “almost certainly collected intelligence on supply routes”. and logistical operations”. this may facilitate future attacks.
Break the covenant: Russia is likely to expand its use of influence operations to “reduce defense support to Ukraine” by exploiting tensions in Europe over energy prices and shortages, according to the report, which cites Russian propaganda outlets’ constant promotion of European protests on issues such as inflation. . Russia may also try to stoke anti-migrant anger as more people flee Ukraine due to power outages.
Missiles and Malware: Microsoft has observed Russian cyberattacks targeting the same areas as Moscow’s latest missile barrage in retaliation for Ukrainian territorial gains.
In addition, the report says destructive cyberattacks increased in October after two relatively quiet months, with erasure malware attacks — designed to erase hard drives and make recovery more difficult — on energy infrastructure. , water and transport alongside Ukraine’s counter-offensive on the ground.
Fifty-five percent of the roughly 50 organizations affected by Russian wiper attacks since February are critical infrastructure companies, Microsoft said.
Allies on alert: Microsoft is not alone in tracking these threats. NATO has also been closely monitoring developments in Ukraine, and the alliance has also seen evidence that Russia is coordinating physical attacks with cyber attacks.
“We’ve seen cybercrime being used before the actual attack begins, such as defacing government websites and spreading disinformation to try to scare people,” David van Weel told reporters. NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for New Security Challenges during a virtual briefing. Friday. He said NATO had also tracked the use of deep fakes, including doctored videos of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy telling troops to surrender.
“We have seen cyber being used in kinetic attacks, while military infrastructure has been physically affected, it has also been affected by cyber attacks,” van Weel noted.
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