Russia is expanding its cyberwar against the West

Russian-linked hackers have infiltrated critical infrastructure networks in the United States in recent days, disrupting hospital operations across the country. Russian attacks continue to grow in boldness and scale as Russia seeks to expand its war against Ukraine and its supporters on multiple fronts.

Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive in cyberspace.

The Russian Cyber ​​Army is a hacker group associated with Russia’s military intelligence unit known as “Sandworm.” cyber attack They have staged at least three separate protests against water and hydroelectric power producers in the United States and Europe. Announced by cybersecurity company Mandiant. report Presents evidence linking the Sandworm to the creation of the Russian Cyber ​​Army. Although Sandworm itself had never targeted U.S. networks with such devastating cyberattacks, its proxies, the Russian Cyber ​​Army, did.

Russian hackers were behind the January attack Water facilities Water towers flooded in rural Texas, releasing tens of thousands of people. gallon of water It flows into roads and drains.It was also detected in two other towns in North Texas. malicious cyber activity It infiltrated the network and took “precautionary defensive measures.”

President Biden administration in March 2024 I had to warn you. U.S. governors say the nation’s water and wastewater systems are under cyber attack. By April 2024, Russian hackers also conducted a cyber campaign attacking water and wastewater treatment facilities in India. Indiana.

Russia’s cyberattacks on Western countries are not limited to the United States. In March, the same Russian hacker group claimed: penetrated A French hydroelectric power plant that manipulates water levels. but, Le Monde It was revealed that they had actually targeted a factory, mistakenly believing it to be the Couron-sur-Yonne hydroelectric dam.water infrastructure in poland was also targeted Poland was attacked by Russian hackers because it was one of Ukraine’s strongest supporters in the Western world. In May 2024, Poland called Attacks by Russian state-backed hackers targeting Polish government networks.

As critical infrastructure across the United States is vulnerable to cyberattacks, small towns with limited resources will be even more vulnerable. Cybersecurity is a cost center for organizations, not a revenue-generating resource.U.S. water utilities are a hot target for hackers, and in 2021 one hacker There was even an “attempt to poison a water treatment plant serving parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.”

There was a targeted cyber attack on healthcare providers in May 2024 rise, affecting 140 hospitals in 19 states. Medical institutions are Main target The damage that hackers can cause, such as disabling medical equipment or diverting ambulances, impacts the lives of many civilians.washington post report It said the attack had “similarities to previous breaches by Black Busta, a successor to Russia’s Conti gang.”

As Russia stalls on the battlefield in Ukraine, its cyber operations will adapt to help.Espionage that enables operations on the battlefield” Countries that lead aid activities Because Ukraine, like the UK and the US, will continue to be a major target of Russian cyberattacks to undermine support for Ukraine and support Russia’s battlefield objectives.

Anne Keast Butler, head of the UK Intelligence and Cyber ​​Security Agency, recently revealed that Russian intelligence services are collaborating with proxies. action Cyber ​​attack.

Ukraine has served as a cyberweapon since Russia first invaded it in 2014 test lab For Russia. But there was no “cyber Pearl Harbor” with a full-scale Russian invasion in 2022. Ukraine has gained plenty of experience since 2014 and has strengthened its defenses, coupled with public and private support from the West. Ukraine endured Russian cyber attacks.

But Russia has learned from both countries’ initial mistakes. Digital and physical battlefield. By December 2023, Russia carried out one of the most devastating cyberattacks against Ukraine’s largest telecommunications operator kiev star. The attack left millions of Kyivstar customers without mobile signal and internet for several days.

Russia’s attacks in the cyber domain are becoming more and more intense.In recent months, Russia adopted ‘Gangs sabotage Western factories supplying weapons to Ukraine’ Russia also said: electronic warfare against western airlines baltic regionGPS jamming causes loss of the GPS navigation system signal. Finnair It has been announced that flights from Finland to Tartu, Estonia will be suspended.

Russia is becoming more aggressive on all fronts and has signaled how it intends to engage in the future. Western countries are already under active cyberattacks from Russia. The longer the West and the Biden administration refrain from responding forcefully on all fronts, the bolder and brazen Russia will become.

Russia only understands Russian projection. Russia’s failure to respond to its invasion of Georgia in 2008 and its annexation of Crimea in 2014 led to a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Western countries should prepare for their critical infrastructure to be exposed to further Russian cyberattacks, but they should also take bolder steps to support Ukraine on the digital and physical battlefields, as Russia’s hybrid war against the West is all leading to battlefield objectives in Ukraine.

david kirichenko He is a freelance journalist and an associate fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank.

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