Staunton, May 14 – Although it has attracted less attention than conventional battles on the ground between the Russian invaders and the Ukrainian defenders, the virtual front between the two is every bit as much as intense as the other, with Moscow calling it “a massive cyberoperation against our country” and Kyiv labeling it “the first cyber world war.”
In an article for The Daily Storm, journalist Daniil Belovodyev surveys what each side has done, a task complicated to some extent by wartime secrecy and the element of deniability that invariably exists in this kind of conflict (dailystorm.ru/rassledovaniya/unikalnaya-myasorubka-hroniki-pervoy-mirovoy-kibervoyny).
What he shows is that “while forces of the Russian regular army have advanced deep into the territory of Ukraine, in virtual space, Russia has been forced to occupy a defensive position,” with Moscow struggling not only to counter particular attacks but to come up with the organization of new administrative arrangements to organize this defense.
Belovodyev also documents the ways in which the Russian authorities have reached out to criminal groups to help them in their defense of the country against Ukrainian cyberattacks, an approach that has further integrated the political and criminal worlds in the Russia of Vladimir Putin. Ukraine in contrast has reached out to the international community for assistance.
Perhaps the most intriguing finding of the journalist’s investigation is that both Moscow and Kyiv to impose some order on their efforts in this area have had to go public with information that permits those who want to follow the course of this virtual battle to do so, thus tearing apar the veil of secrecy normally thrown over military operations.