CYBERWARFARE AMID UKRAINE AND RUSSIA WAR

During the height of the conflict in Ukraine, the Anonymous hacker declared a “cyberwar” on Russia. As Russian President Vladimir Putin orders a special military operation in the Donbas, the group has declared its support for Ukraine. According to social media accounts purporting to represent the group, they have shut down dozens of Russian websites in response to the country’s military operations in Ukraine.

According to the Russian-controlled international broadcaster RT, an apparent cyberattack affected Russian government websites, the Kremlin, the Duma, and the Ministry of Defense. Some of the attacked websites were slowed, while others were unavailable.

Anonymous Hacking

The hacker group launched the cyberattack just one day after a new data-cleansing malware was discovered in Ukraine. According to ESET researchers, a dangerous Wiper malware that can wipe all data from an infected system has been discovered in Ukraine.

What makes this malware so dangerous is that data cannot be recovered once it has been deleted. Malware can even attack system restore tools without leaving a trace.

Although the research firm has not been able to determine who is responsible for the malware distribution, Russia is suspected. According to sources, Russia has denied the allegations of such cyberattacks. The involvement of the Anonymous hacker is likely to aid Ukraine in its cyberwar against its rival Russia. Twitter users are also praising the hacker group’s attacks.

Global Hacktivists

Anonymous is a global hacktivist (hacker activists). This isn’t the first time the group has made headlines for its involvement in major cyberattacks around the world. The group, which was founded in 2003, was named to Time’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Previously, the group attacked government offices in several countries, including the United States, Israel, Uganda, Turkey, and others. It also targets several major corporations, including PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and Sony. Even though law enforcement agencies around the world have arrested several hackers for their roles in Anonymous cyberattacks, the group is still active.

Launched DDoS attacks

The Russian government, the Kremlin, the Duma, and the Ministry of Defense are among the websites that Anonymous has taken down or slowed down. The hacker team also launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the websites of Russian ISPs Com2Com, Relcom, Sovam Teleport, and PTT-Teleport Moscow, in addition to RT.com.

Previously, Ukraine claimed that Russia was responsible for a massive cyberattack on its government websites, as well as some banks and other information technology firms. “Malware is designed to look like ransomware, but it lacks a ransom recovery mechanism. It is designed to damage and disable targeted devices, and not to extort money,”. One of the vectors of modern warfare, cyber-attacks, can be dangerous and disrupt the country’s industrial infrastructure.

Hacking accounts- A regular Russian activity

Earlier this month, one Anonymous account threatened to do the same to Russia. Within hours of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, social media platforms hinted that users in the country are more likely to have their accounts manipulated, a tactic Russia has used for years to spread misinformation.

Alerts users with safety tips

A corporate Twitter account and Facebook’s director of threat intelligence offered advice ranging from what to do if your account was hacked to proactive account closures for security reasons. In general, the platforms encourage users to be mindful of how they work online, as they are the most vulnerable to conflict.

On Thursday, Twitter urged people in Ukraine to protect their accounts by not naming Russia but instead posted a thread on how to avoid being manipulated and listed various methods to do so.

He provided tips and guides on “how to verify your account and digital information,” initially advising users to simply deactivate their accounts if they didn’t feel safe. He then went on to explain what to do if an account has been hacked, how to tell if an account has been hacked, and why it is not a good idea to tweet locations. He demonstrated how to completely disable location tracking on a smartphone. He distributed advice in English, Ukrainian, and Russian. Hours later, David Agranovich, Meta’s director of threat intelligence, tweeted that the company, which recently changed its name from Facebook, added extra features for Ukrainian users to protect their accounts on Wednesday night.

Block with a single click

David Agranovych, who is the director of global threat disruption, stated that any user in the region now has a one-click tool to effectively block their profile and improve security, which the company has previously seen implemented in some countries such as Afghanistan in “dangerous situations.” He also contacted several outside tour guides who provide tours for anyone living or working in Ukraine to secure their digital files and equipment. “It’s critical for Ukrainian journalists and activists (as well as other vulnerable groups) to remember this,” Agranovich wrote. “Meta is merely one component of the online ecosystem” he further added.

Misinformation on Twitter and Facebook

These companies must also deal with the issue of disinformation on the platforms. The amount of misinformation on Twitter and Facebook has steadily increased over the last week, according to Cyabra, which is a disinformation tracking platform.

Fake profiles generate content

Since February 14, the amount of content on Twitter that is negatively related to Ukraine has increased by 11,000%. In addition, the company discovered that 56 percent of Ukrainian content on Facebook and Twitter in the previous two weeks was created using “non-real profiles” such as bot or puppet accounts. For a long time, Russia has used social media to manipulate political events, frequently by purposefully creating and widely spreading false or misleading information.

According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the country used a sophisticated social media disinformation scheme involving hundreds of thousands of fake accounts to try to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election. In 2011, Russia used a similar technique to conceal posts asking questions or protesting the results of parliamentary elections. Twitter said it is “actively monitoring emerging narratives” that violate its terms of service, including “identifying and thwarting attempts to amplify false and misleading information and increase the speed and scale of our app.”

Well, this is all to it but the real handling of the major threats, manipulation of the backfoot scams, threats can best be acknowledged by the central bureaus of investigation, cyberspace research, the crime branches, and then consolidated by the political leaders on the forefront which brings in the present picture of the online and offline world.