Russia’s objective to weaken Ukraine’s cyber resistance is failing as the nation continues to effectively rebuff cyber-attacks from its oppressor. The upshot from the latest WithSecure’s Sphere conference was that Putin’s administration is “largely failing,” as chief research officer Mikko Hyppönen told participants.
During the event in Helsinki, Finland, Mikko gave an insight into the war between the two nations, which has been going on for more than three months. In an attempt to destabilize Ukraine, Russia has launched a series of cyber-attacks on the country’s internet infrastructure and other essential services since before the invasion began on February 24, 2022.
According to Hyppönen, reports of cyber activity between the two countries have decreased in recent months, but this is not due to a lack of such cyberattacks. Instead, the drop in media focus is due to Ukraine’s effectiveness in countering Russian cyberattacks. After all, he claims, failed attacks are rarely covered in the media.
“They’ve been trying to do things like this over and over again, so the lack of activity in offensive cyberspace that we’ve seen over the last few months is not because Russia isn’t trying – they are trying – but we aren’t seeing more activity because Ukraine is defending [successfully],” said Hyppönen. “Ukraine has been able to defend itself both in the real world but also in the online world. In fact, I’ll claim that Ukraine is the best country in Europe to defend its networks against governmental attacks from Russia.”
Hyppönen said that Ukraine is presently witnessing three times as many cyberattacks as it did this time last year. He added, “Russia is trying, but it is largely failing.” His comments come after BaFin, the German financial regulator, issued a warning a few days before that the financial markets of Europe should be on high alert due to a recent spike in cyber-attacks.
BaFin warned in a security advisory that several distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks had been launched against German banks and financial institutions. BaFin thinks that these cyberattacks are being carried out by Russia, which is still subject to economic sanctions due to its invasion of Ukraine.
The war’s repercussions are felt around the world, not only in Europe. On June 1, US military officials revealed to Sky News that they had performed “a series of operations across the full spectrum; offensive, defensive, [and] information operations.” According to Hyppönen, US-based tech giant Microsoft is also taking an active stand against the war for the first time in history.
Microsoft is aggressively countering Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine, particularly those from the Russian hacker gang Strontium, which the firm believes is a Russian GRU-connected entity it has “tracked for years.”
Hyppönen concluded his presentation by advocating greater collaboration. He said, “Taking a stand here is really simple, it’s really obvious. I think we all choose to stand with Ukraine. We choose to stand with democracy, and we choose to stand against evil.”