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CyberWar in Europe – Internet Blackout, Disinformation and Espionage

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Thousands of people across Europe were thrown offline by a massive internet outage believed to be part of the Russian offensive on Ukraine. Reporting on the possible cyberattack, approximately 9,000 subscribers of Nordnet, an internet service provider subsidiary of Orange in France, were without internet on February 24. The internet outage on Viasat affected over 40,000 Bigblu subscribers in France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Poland.

Viasat reported in the US that a cyber-event had caused a partial network outage for its customers in Ukraine. And elsewhere in Europe that rely on the KA-SAT satellite. No further details were provided about the events, but the investigative authorities were notified. According to General Michel Frieling, the head of France’s Space Command, it’s obvious there was a cyberattack on Viasat. In the period immediately after the start of the war in Ukraine. The satellite network that serves Europe and specifically Ukraine came under a cyberattack. The incident made tens of thousands of terminals inoperative. About 5,800 wind turbines were knocked offline in Germany and Central Europe. After the attack brought down 11 gigawatts of power output Enercom. The German manufacturer reported having limited control and remote monitoring of wind power converters. Due to the disruption of satellite connections.

Both military and cyber specialists fear that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict spurs increased cyber attacks with far-reaching consequences in Russia. And Ukraine and worldwide. For example, Russia launched a malware attack in June 2017 named NotPetya in Ukraine. Which quickly spread worldwide, causing an estimated $10 billion in damage. Governments worldwide are worried that the situation may spill over and lead to a-out silverware.

CyberWar in Europe

The attacks identified thus far have been restrict in their geographical scope and impact. In Ukraine, cybersecurity companies have identified a new data destroying/wiping virus whose effects are not well know. A spillover effect has been report, with Ukrainian contractors in Latvia and Lithuania reporting attacks by the wiper malware. Russia has been blame for several cyberattacks targeting government and banking systems in Ukraine in recent weeks. Websites of several Ukrainian government departments and banks were knock offline by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Institutional websites in Russia make inaccessible from abroad to prevent denial of service attacks.

The global technology infrastructure has ensure that cyber threats can be identified, nullified, and share information to prevent future occurrences. Through its Threat Intelligence Center, Microsoft reported the detection of destructive cyberattacks on Ukrainian digital infrastructure on the eve of the initial attacks. The attacks labeled FoxBlade included wipers that wipe out data once they enter a network. Hundreds of cyberattacks of different forms have been reporte since the war began.

Miss information campaigns have exacerbated conflicts and even led to genocides. Deaths may happen, for example, when “leaked intelligence” suggests a location is a potential target, and people flee to the following area in safety. However, the safe place becomes an obvious target for attacks leading to the death of vulnerable populations. So far, the effects of misinformation and propaganda have been more psychological.

Hacktivists, proxy groups, and other interested parties have been assembling to form cyberspace armies on either side of the conflict. Anonymous, the hacking group, has joined with Ukraine and has declared war against the Russian government. Ukraine has appealed for citizens of other countries to join them in creating an IT army to counter Russian hacking and cybersecurity overtures. Several European countries such as Lithuania, Croatia, and Poland are offering Ukraine support with the launch of a rapid-response team. Russia has reiterated that it will retaliate with equal or greater force.

Everything and anything found online can be hackes or exploited during a cyberwar. Offensive cyber weapons are now a first-strike tactic in war scenarios. Nothing significant has been record, with most incidences being disinformation and espionage. The three primary forms of cyber operations seen this far are wipers, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.And the defacement and fake news. No attack on critical infrastructure has happened, but the situation may worsen.

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