The threat of hackers “fighting” on the side of Russia: “They can turn off our lights”

Their forces at the disposal of its military espionage forces of Russia are being raised by more and more hackers and online activists from around the world, according to Google researchers.

In recent months, Mandiant – Google’s cybersecurity team – has noticed a connection between pro-Russian hacker groups and cyberattacks from GRUthe spy agency of the Russian military.

In four cases, it was used “wiper” malware to wipe out and destroy elements entire networks and computing systems.

But how do hacker activists come into the picture (hacktivists); Within 24 hours from the moment the data is deleted from the organizations – victims, they publish in their own means.

Three pro-Russian hacker groups are reportedly involved. These are the: XakNet Team, Infocentr and CyberArmyofRussia_Reborn.

According to Mandiant, it is about unprecedented status: “Never before have we recorded such a volume of cyberattacks, so many different actors and such coordination in an effort lasting many months.”

They can even turn off our lights”

Why is this important? Western officials and security experts want to know whether the Kremlin has ties to such groups so they can understand Moscow’s intentions both inside and outside of Ukraine.

Through such groups, Russia presents itself as one threatening on the internet while at the same time may deny any involvement in “hits”, according to Michael S. Rogers, former head of the US National Security Agency (NSA) who now works in the private sector.

Mandiant’s vice president of intelligence analysis, John Hultquist, emphasized that Russian espionage could use such groups for more serious business in cyberspace.

“We should not underestimate the GRU. They can even turn off our lights. We should not ignore its ties to such hacktivist groups,” he notes.

Cyberattacks against the US and beyond

The US Department of Homeland Security issued warning the previous spring, naming her XakNet and another group, the killnet, as possible threats to US infrastructure. He also said that due to the war in Ukraine, attacks by criminal groups and hacktivists are likely to increase.

Killnet has attacked a number of targets in countries such as Japanthe Italythe Norwaythe Estonia and the Lithuania. He usually uses attacks DDoS – i.e. it “floods” the target’s servers with excessive internet traffic, causing them to “crash”.

This group has also collaborated with XakNet in the past, while in recent months it has given interviews to Russian media. Some analysts reckon they may want just that – her attention from the media – and they’re not that big of a threat.

On the other hand, it is worrying that both the US and European countries close to Russia (specifically Lithuania and Estonia) have been targeted by cyber attacks recently.

In July, the Congress.gov page went down for two hours due to a DDoS attack. In August, Killnet attacked Lockheed Martin, while in the same month it released files from a company that makes circuit boards for the defense industry.

With information from WSJ

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