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A Year of Conflict: Cybersecurity Industry Assesses Impact of Russia-Ukraine War

Marking the first anniversary of Russia’s war against Ukraine, several cybersecurity companies have published reports summarizing the impact of various types of cyber operations, just as the United States has issued a fresh warning for the West. 

In the weeks before and immediately after Russia launched its war against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Russia appeared to intensify its attacks in cyberspace, with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, disruptive wiper malware, and misinformation campaigns. While everyone has been concerned about highly disruptive and even destructive cyberattacks against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, there have been no reports of a major incident to date, and Ukraine continues to improve its cyber defense capabilities.

Several cybersecurity companies have published reports in the past week summarizing what they have seen in cyberspace since the start of the war. Google, Mandiant, Recorded Future, ReliaQuest, and Cloudflare have all reported an increase in cyberattacks, hacktivism, and information operations from Russia. They have also noted the ‘brain drain’ of Russian cyber professionals, the shift in the Eastern European cybercrime ecosystem, and the resilience of Ukraine’s networks.

On Thursday, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) urged the United States and Europe to be increasingly vigilant, and reminded potentially targeted entities about the resources it provides for increasing resilience to cyberattacks.

Industry professionals have applauded Ukraine for its resilience against Russian attacks, noting that high-fidelity detections at all security layers — particularly moving to the cloud — are the key lessons the West can take from the past year.

Key Points:

  • Russia has ramped up its cyber operations by 250% in 2022 compared to 2020, with an increase of more than 300% in attacks aimed at NATO countries.
  • Ukraine has been surprisingly resilient against the attacks, showing a skill and dedication from the defenders that the Russian attackers certainly didn’t expect.
  • There has been a resurgence in hacktivism following the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, with hackers supporting both sides launching attacks.
  • Internet traffic from the East to West has dropped as much as 33% since the invasion was launched.
  • Application-layer attacks seen by Cloudflare increased by 1,300% shortly after the war started.
  • The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has urged the United States and Europe to be increasingly vigilant.
  • High-fidelity detections at all security layers — particularly moving to the cloud — are the key lessons the West can take from the past year.

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