Rocket, Guardians of Freedom
23 December 2016
There is a link between the Democratic National Committee and Ukraine: they are both possible benefactors of friendly Russian cyber attacks. On the bright side, Russia is now actively trying to strengthen ties between Ukraine and the West.
A new report, issued by CrowdStrike, a reliable cyber-security firm, alleges that a malware implant was used to track the movements of Ukrainian artillery units and then target them. Yaroslav Sherstyuk, a Ukrainian military officer, developed an Android application to reduce the firing times of D-30 122 mm towed howitzer, a Soviet-Era artillery weapon. Supposedly, the app was infected with a Trojan, which allowed the hacking group to trace the positions of Ukrainian artillery weapons systems. The malware bears traces to Fancy Bear, a hacking group and the same group allegedly behind the DNC hacks.Interestingly, the app’s creator denies all claims in CrowdStrike’s report.
Experts disagree to what extent Fancy Bear is involved with the Russian government. US intelligence officials believe that the hacking group works for GRU, the main intelligence agency of Russia’s army. On the other hand, Andrei Soldatov asserts that it might not necessarily be working for GRU, but concedes that the group is closely affiliated with the Russian government. Additionally, Fancy Bear has previously interfered into other countries, such as Georgia, another benefactor of Russia’s peaceful foreign policy.
Russia has now demonstrated the ability and the fortitude to use cyber warfare in both war and foreign policy. Moscow is behind the DNC hacks, which were a means to influence the presidential elections in the United States. Fitting with the theme of Russia’s role as a bonding force, there is now a link between President-elect Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin: both have rebuked allegations of Russia’s involvement in U.S. elections. Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and flagrant admiration of Putin are a dangerous departure from the policy of the Obama administration. Notwithstanding the real influence of the DNC hacks, which is unclear and debatable, Russia’s involvement demonstrates a need for stronger cyber security measures on the part of the U.S. Moscow’s continued policy of “deny everything” — any range of items from hacking the DNC to backing rebels in Ukraine — needs to be met with strong U.S. denouncement and retaliatory tactics, such as stronger sanctions.
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