For one, as The Washington Post reports, while the cyber fallout from the invasion has been less than forecast, it’s clear that every future military conflict will have a cyber component.
Viktor Zhora, the deputy head of Ukraine’s cybersecurity agency, recently highlighted the challenge in an awareness campaign by privacy group Digital Peace Now, as Axios reports. “Cyberspace has no borders,” Zhora said as part of the initiative. “Hackers wear no stripes and can hide their origins. ... There is no doubt that the cyberwar will go on even after the conventional hostilities are over.”
If digital conflict is now an inextricable part of warfare, then Ukraine’s defenses have been bolstered by recent improvements in cyber threat intelligence and end-point protection, according to a report by Microsoft. Meanwhile, Russian agencies have boosted their network penetration and cyber-influence efforts targeting the coalition of countries defending Ukraine.
With a foreword by Microsoft vice chair Brad Smith, the report concludes, “The lessons from Ukraine call for a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to strengthen defenses against the full range of cyber destructive, espionage and influence operations.”
The hacktivist collectivist Anonymous has surprised with the depth and breadth of its cyberattacks against Russian targets during the Ukraine war, as ComputerWeekly.com reports. In Anonymous’ first known campaign against the government of a nation-state, the collective has hacked the Central Bank of Russia, breached the Kremlin’s closed-circuit TV system and disclosed personal information on 120,000 Russian troops. Anonymous has also hit Russian infrastructure and has aired videos of the invasion on state media outlets.
To be sure, Glenn Gerstell, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former general counsel of the National Security Agency, recently told The Wall Street Journal that cyberattacks rarely have “a strategic or enduring effect.” More often, Gerstell said, digital incursions lead to temporary setbacks, such as the theft of data or the disruption of a server.
Still, the Ukraine war has brought the military role of cyberattacks into public view, as Marianne Bailey, cybersecurity practice leader at consultancy Guidehouse, recently told InformationWeek. “Cyber is now a weapon of war,” Bailey said.