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Kremlin-backed hackers executed at least 237 cyberattacks against Ukraine: Microsoft

Kremlin-backed hackers executed at least 237 cyberattacks against Ukraine: Microsoft
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Russia has been engaged in cyberattacks against Ukraine along with the ongoing physical war, a report by Microsoft claimed. 

The report, titled “An overview of Russia’s cyberattack activity in Ukraine” has confirmed more than 237 cyber operations have been undertaken against Ukrainian targets, by at least six different hacking groups related to the Russian government. 

“The destructive attacks have also been accompanied by broad espionage and intelligence activities. The attacks have not only degraded the systems of institutions in Ukraine but have also sought to disrupt people’s access to reliable information,” said Tom Burt - Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, in a Microsoft blog post.  

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The report said that Russia’s use of cyberattacks was strongly co-related, and was also found to be directly timed with its military operations, and targeted services and institutions which were civilian based and not necessarily related to the Ukrainian military. 

Burt pointed out the example of when Russia launched a missile strike on a TV tower in Kyiv. “A Russian actor launched cyberattacks against a major broadcasting company on March 1, the same day the Russian military announced its intention to destroy Ukrainian ‘disinformation’ targets,” Burt said in the blog. 

The report, carried out by Microsoft and cybersecurity company ESET, along with Ukrainian authorities, warned that continued destructive attacks in Ukraine could increase in severity. 

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The report also advised that the wartime cyber operations combined with on-field war would “introduce a level of uncertainty not seen since the annexation of the Crime in 2014”.

In February and March 2014, Russia invaded and subsequently annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, during the time of the Revolution of Dignity, a string of protests that were sparked by the then Ukraine governments' decision to abstain from signing the European Union-Ukraine Association agreement. 

Earlier in March, Victor Zhora, the Chief Digital Transformation officer at the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine, said that the undergoing Ukraine-Russia war was the first hybrid war to occur. 

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Zhora said that Ukraine was fighting a war in two realms, digital and in reality on the ground.