Ukraine launches “IT army” and targets Russian cyberspace

3D-printed models of people working on computers locking in front of a display of cybersecurity words and binary code are seen in this illustrative photo taken, February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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LONDON (Reuters) – Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, said on Saturday that Ukraine will create an “information technology army” to fight Russian digital hacks.

Reuters exclusively reported last week that Ukraine had called in its secret hacker to help protect critical infrastructure and conduct cyber espionage missions against Russian forces. Read more

“We are creating an IT army,” Fedorov wrote in a tweet linked to a channel on the Telegram messaging app that published a list of prominent Russian sites.

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“There will be tasks for everyone. We continue to fight on the cyber front. The first task on the channel for Internet professionals,”

The Telegram channel listed the websites of 31 major Russian companies and state institutions, including energy giant Gazprom (ELGZI.MM)Russia’s second largest oil producer, Lukoil, has three banks and a handful of government websites.

Kremlin.ru, the official website of the Kremlin and the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was cut off from the internet on Saturday in what appears to be a denial of service (DDoS) attack. Read more

Researchers at cybersecurity firm ESET have discovered data-erasing malware circulated in Ukraine last week, infecting hundreds of computers. Read more

Suspicion fell on Russia, which has repeatedly been accused of committing hacking crimes against Ukraine and other countries. Among the victims were government agencies and a financial institution.

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Britain and the United States said Russian military hackers were behind a series of DDoS attacks last week that briefly disrupted the websites of Ukrainian banks and government websites before the Russian invasion. Read more

Russia denied the allegations.

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Reporting by James Pearson Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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