From an army of volunteers to EU and Nato teams, the variety of online actors working for the cause is unprecedented
As the conflict in Ukraine escalates, expert cyber-watchers have been speculating about the kind of cyber-attacks that Russia might conduct. Will the Kremlin turn off Ukraine’s power grid, dismantle Ukraine’s transport system, cut off the water supply or target the health system? Or would cybercriminals operating from Russia, who could act as proxies for the Russian regime, conduct these activities?
Over the past decade, Ukraine has experienced many major cyber-attacks, most of which have been attributed to Russia. From election interference in 2014, which compromised the central electoral system and jeopardised the integrity of the democratic process; to a hack and blackout attack in a first-of-its-kind fully remote cyber-attack on a power grid in 2015, resulting in countrywide power outages; to one of the costliest malicious software attacks, NotPetya, in 2017, which significantly disrupted access to banking and government services in Ukraine and, subsequently, spilled over to France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, the UK, the US and Australia.
Joyce Hakmeh is a senior research fellow for the International Security Programme at Chatham House. Esther Naylor is a research analyst at the International Security Programme