WIRED: Ukraine’s Volunteer ‘IT Army’ Is Hacking in Uncharted Territory

VLADIMIR PUTIN’S ATTACK on Ukraine has been met with fierce resistance throughout the country’s towns and cities. As Russian forces have moved closer to Kyiv, lawyers, students, and actors have taken up arms to defend their country from invasion. They are not the only ones: Volunteers have also flocked to join a Ukrainian volunteer “IT Army” that’s fighting back online.

At around 9 pm local time on February 26, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, announced the creation of the volunteer cyber army. “We have a lot of talented Ukrainians in the digital sphere: developers, cyber specialists, designers, copywriters, marketers,” he said in a post on his official Telegram channel. “We continue to fight on the cyber front.”

Ukraine has seen other volunteer-organized cyberdefense and attack efforts leading up to and early in the war effort. Separately hacktivists, including the hacking group Anonymous, have claimed DDoS attacks against Russian targets and taken data from Belarusian weapons manufacturer Tetraedr. But the development of the IT Army, a government-led volunteer unit that’s designed to operate in the middle of a fast-moving war zone, is without precedent.

The IT Army’s tasks are being assigned to volunteers through a separate Telegram channel, Fedorov said in his announcement. So far more than 175,000 people have subscribed—tapping Join on the public channel is all it takes—and multiple tasks have been dished out. The channel’s administrators, for instance, asked subscribers to launch distributed denial of service attacks against more than 25 Russian websites. These included Russian infrastructure businesses, such as energy giant Gazprom, the country’s banks, and official government websites. Websites belonging to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Kremlin, and communications regulator Roskomnadzor were also listed as potential targets. Russian news websites followed.

Read more  via Wired



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