Some online fighters have turned away from tactics used earlier in the conflict. In the initial phase of the war, Ukrainian hackers focused on attacks aimed at disrupting Russian offline websites. Russian hackers targeted Ukrainian government websites in January, prior to the invasion, and installed “squeegee” malware that permanently erases data from computer networks. Recently, it appears that Russian hackers have launched attacks that could have cut off electricity or cut military communications. (Many of those efforts have been thwarted, US officials say.)
But disclosure of personal data is closer to information warfare than to electronic warfare. It mirrors Russia’s tactics in 2016, when hackers backed by a Russian intelligence agency stole and leaked data from the Democratic National Committee and from individuals working on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. These hacks are intended to embarrass and affect political outcomes, rather than destroy equipment or infrastructure.
Experts have warned that the involvement of amateur hackers in the conflict in Ukraine could lead to confusion and incite more state-backed hacking, as governments seek to defend themselves and strike back at their attackers.
“Some cybercrime groups recently publicly pledged support to the Russian government,” the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Caution in consultant Wednesday. “Russia-allied cybercrime groups have threatened to conduct cyber operations in retaliation for perceived cyber attacks against the Russian government or the Russian people.”
Distributed Secrets Denial, or DDoSecrets, a non-profit organization that publishes many of the leaked material, was created in 2018 and has published material from US law enforcement agencies, shell companies and right-wing groups. But since the start of the war in Ukraine, the group has been flooded with data from government agencies and Russian companies. It currently hosts more than 40 datasets related to Russian entities.
Lorax B. said: Horn, a member of the DDoSecrets: “There has been a lot of activity on that front since the start of the war.” “Since the end of February, it’s not all Russian data sets, but it’s been a huge amount of data that we’ve received.”
DDoSecrets acts as a clearinghouse and publishes the data it receives from sources through the open application process. The organization says its mission is to be transparent with the public and to avoid political affiliations. It is often described as a successor to WikiLeaks, another non-profit group that has published leaked data it received from anonymous sources.
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