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Reuters: Russian hackers target war crimes probes in Ukraine

by Rachel Amran September 23, 2023 1:54 AM 2 min read
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Russian spies are using hackers to target computer systems at law enforcement agencies in Ukraine as means to identify and obtain evidence related to alleged Russian war crimes, Ukraine's cyber defense chief, Yurii Shchyhol, told Reuters on Sept. 22.

Yurii Shchyhol serves as the Head of the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine (SSSCIP) which handles cyber defense in Ukraine. According to Shchyhol, hackers working across Russia's foreign, domestic, and military intelligence agencies have expanded "digital intrusion campaigns targeting the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's office and departments documenting war crimes."

"There's been a change in direction, from a focus on energy facilities towards law enforcement institutions which had previously not been targeted that often," Shchyhol stated. "This shift, towards the courts, prosecutors and law enforcement units, shows that hackers are gathering evidence about Russian war crimes in Ukraine."

Reuters managed to review a copy of the SSSCIP report on the attacks expected to be released on Monday. The report suggests that Russian hackers were also trying to gather intelligence on Russian nationals arrested in Ukraine, with a view to "help these individuals avoid prosecution and move them back to Russia."

The exact units targeted by the hacking campaign were not revealed due to security concerns.

According to Shchyhol, the number of cybersecurity incidents documented by the SSSCIP grew by 123% in the first six months of this year compared with the second half of 2022.

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