Ukraine Creates Hackers Army, Orders Attacks on Russian Websites

Keeping up with the fast events regarding the Russian assault on Ukraine, new developments emerged related to cyber warfare currently taking place. 

Ukraine is recruiting a volunteer IT army composed of white hat hackers to launch attacks on a list of Russian entities. 

The list comprises 31 targets, including Russian critical infrastructure, government agencies, banks, and hosting providers.  

On Saturday, Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov announced that the country was creating an “IT Army.” He called on those with digital talents to join the effort and “fight on the cyber front.”  

He also added that the army would be organizing in a Telegram chat room, where volunteers would be able to complete “operational tasks.”  

While the first task on the channel is for cyber specialists, the vice prime minister explained that there will be further tasks for everyone.  

More targets include oil and gas company Lukoil, natural gas heavyweight Gazprom, and internet company Yandex, among many others.  

Regarding the financial sector, the army excluded Sberbank, VTB, and Gazprombank, some of the country’s top banks. Russian government entities on the list included the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense.  

On another note, a different task was given for those not technologically advanced enough to launch cyber and a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) attacks: report Russian YouTube channels that spread misinformation about the war in Ukraine.  

In addition, channels that were banned included state-owned media outlets Russia 24, TASS, and RIA Novosti.  

A Telegram channel was used to coordinate the efforts and plan the cyber-attacks that will be conducted by the IT Army.  

“We are creating an IT army. We need digital talents. All operational tasks will be given here:  

There will be tasks for everyone. We continue to fight on the cyber front. The first task is on the channel for cyber specialists,” reads the message published by Fedorov. 

Regarding the outcome of that group, it’s not clear whether the group has successfully taken down any Russian websites or YouTube channels, although there have been some disruptions.   

Overall, Russia isn’t having an easy time in the tech world, which is increasingly taking measures to support Ukraine. Following a move by Meta, formerly known as Facebook, Google banned Russian state media from monetizing their websites, apps, or YouTube videos on Saturday.  

It is worth mentioning that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responded to a request from Fedorov on Saturday asking him to provide the country with Starlink stations.  

“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk tweeted.