Ukraine is on the front lines of global cyber security

There is no clear dividing line between “cyber warfare” and “cyber crime.” This is particularly true with regard to alleged acts of cyber aggression originating from Russia. The recent suspected Russian cyber attack on Ukrainian mobile operator Kyivstar is a reminder of the potential dangers posed by cyber operations to infrastructure, governments, and private companies around the world.

Russian cyber activities are widely viewed as something akin to a public-private partnership. These activities are thought to include official government actors who commit cyber attacks and unofficial private hacker networks that are almost certainly (though unofficially) sanctioned, directed, and protected by the Russian authorities.

The most significant government actor in Russia’s cyber operations is reportedly Military Unit 74455, more commonly called Sandworm. This unit has been accused of engaging in cyber attacks since at least 2014. The recent attack on Ukraine’s telecommunications infrastructure was probably affiliated with Sandworm, though specific relationships are intentionally hard to pin down.

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Source: Atlantic Council