WASHINGTON — A wave of cyberattacks that hit Ukrainian government agencies and information technology vendors has been traced to hackers linked to Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, a Microsoft official said in a blog post.
The ongoing digital warfare is attributed to a group called “Cadet Blizzard,” which has reportedly been active since 2020, Tom Burt, corporate vice president of security and customer trust, he said in the post. The company also linked the group to devastating data wipe attacks that plagued it Ukraine before the Russian invasion in February 2022.
Russia has historically used cyberspace to project power, soften targets and meddle in foreign affairs. A report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in 2021 ranked the country second in the ranking of central cyber powers, along with China but behind the US
In addition to targeting Ukraine, Cadet Blizzard is focusing efforts on NATO members which channel military aid in Eastern Europe, Microsoft said. Countries have committed billions of dollars in equipment, ammunition and combat vehicles to Ukraine to help fight Russian forces.
“While not the most successful Russian actor, Cadet Blizzard has enjoyed some recent success,” Burt said in the post. “Microsoft’s unique visibility into its operations has motivated us to share information with the security ecosystem and customers to increase their visibility and protection against attacks.”
US leaders for more than a year have urged the private and public sectors to step up their cyber practices and monitor virtual irregularities.
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration – specifically Cold War liquidation and nuclear weapons development – for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award winning photographer.
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