Russia’s repeated cyberattacks failed in the first months of the Ukraine war, studies say That

WASHINGTON – A new examination of how Russia used its cyber capabilities in the first months of the war in Ukraine contained some surprises: Moscow carried out more cyber-attacks than was realized at the time to bolster its invasion, but more than two-thirds failed. , Reflecting its poor performance on the physical battlefield.

However, a study published by Microsoft on Wednesday suggests that the government of President Vladimir V. Putin has been more successful than many would have anticipated by spreading false information to establish a favorable war narrative for Russia, including making a case for the United States. Secretly producing biological weapons in Ukraine.

This report is the latest attempt by several groups, including the American Intelligence Agency, to understand the response of a brutal physical and often coordinated physical war – fighting in cyberspace. It He pointed out that, Ukraine is well prepared to counter cyber-attacks, after enduring They came for many years. This is partly due in part to the well-established alarm systems from private companies, including Microsoft and Google, and the preparations that include the move of the most important Ukrainian system to the cloud, to servers outside Ukraine.

Russia’s list of cyberattacks and Russian propaganda shows that only 29 percent of the attacks violated target networks – in Ukraine, the United States, Poland and the Baltic states. But it also points to more successful efforts being made to take over the information war. Russia has blamed Washington and Kyiv for starting the ongoing clashes. In eastern and southern Ukraine.

The war was the first full-scale battle in which traditional weapons and cyber weapons were used side by side, and the race was on to explore an unprecedented movement between the two. So far, the movement has developed as much as expected.

Initially, analysts and government officials were shocked by the absence of a state offensive Russia to Ukraine’s grid and communications system In April, President Biden’s national Internet adviser, Chris Inglis, said “the question now is why Russia is not doing” a very important Internet play, at least for NATO and the United States. ” He predicted that the Russians thought they would aim for a quick victory in This past February, however, “did not budge” when combat efforts were hampered.

A Microsoft report says Russia carried out a major cyberattack on Feb. 23, the day before the physical invasion. The attack, using malware called FoxBlade, was an attempt to use “wiper” software to destroy data on government networks. Russia, meanwhile, has attacked the Viasat satellite communications network, hoping to destroy the Ukrainian army.

“Us I think, among the first people to witness the first shot fired on February 23, “said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft.

“It was a violent, violent, violent attack that started with a single wiper software, an attack that was absolutely coordinated by various parts of the Russian government,” he added Wednesday at a forum in Ronald. The Reagan President Foundation and the Washington Institute.

But several attacks have been thwarted, or there is enough duplication in the Ukrainian network. Such an attempt has wreaked havoc. The result, Smith said, was that fewer attacks were reported.

In many cases, Smith said, Russia has coordinated the use of cyber weapons in counter-attacks. The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a U.S. military base. An official at Microsoft declined to say which tree Smith was referring to.

While most Russian cyberactivity has focused on Ukraine, Microsoft has detected 128 network intrusions in 42 countries. Of the 29 percent of successful Russian attacks on a network, Microsoft concludes, only a quarter of those attacks result in data theft.

Outside of Ukraine, Russia has focused its attacks on the United States, Poland and two NATO members. , Sweden and Finland. Other allies have also been targeted, especially as they begin to supply more weapons to Ukraine. Those violations, were limited to surveillance – show that Moscow is trying to avoid bringing NATO countries into direct combat through cyberattacks, as it avoids physical attacks on those countries.

But Microsoft, other tech companies and government officials say Russia has matched those intrusion efforts. With a broad-based effort to deliver worldwide advertising.

Microsoft tracked the growth of Russian ad consumption in the US in the first week of the year. It peaked at 82 percent before the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, with 60 million to 80 million monthly visits. The figures, Microsoft says, rival the page views on the largest indigenous media site in the United States.

One example Smith cites is Russian propaganda within Russia encouraging its citizens to be vaccinated, while English-language messages spread anti-vaccine content.

Microsoft also followed an increase in Russian outreach in Canada in the weeks before a vaccine protest convoy tried to shut down Ottawa, and in New Zealand before protesting there against public health measures to fight the epidemic.

“It’s not a case of news consumption; “It’s not just a case of trying to expand on news coverage,” Smith said.

Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted that while private companies could track Russian attempts to spread false information within the United States, U.S. intelligence agencies were restricted by their unprotected network.

“There are gaps, and I think the Russians are aware of that, and it allows them to exploit openness in our system,” said King, who spoke at the Reagan Institute.

The provisions of this year’s draft defense law, which Congress is considering, will require the Security Council to: The United States Internet Command, and its military offspring, must report to Congress every two years on Electoral security, including the efforts of Russia and other foreign powers to influence Americans Lika. .

“Ultimately, the best defense is to make our people better consumers of information,” King said. “We need to do a better job of educating people as consumers of information Better. I call it digital literacy. And we have to teach kids in fourth and fifth grade how to distinguish fake websites from real websites. “

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