Top Ukrainian cyber official praises volunteer hacks on Russian targets, offers updates

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Mar 15, 2022 | CYBERSCOOP

The Ukrainian government’s cyber efforts are focused on defense, not offense, a top official said Tuesday, but leaders are “grateful” for offensive actions taken by private hackers within Ukraine and around the world, “since every means and every scenario which will be used to weaken the military potential of Russian aggressors is useful.”

Victor Zhora, the deputy chairman of the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, told reporters in a briefing Tuesday that the Ukrainian government’s cyber capabilities are focused on protecting its critical infrastructure and government services.

Zhora referenced the “IT Army” — a broad collection of volunteers who have joined a Telegram channel that shares potential targets and updates on cyber issues, such as possible distributed denial-of-service targets — but he did not talk about offensive hacking efforts reportedly coordinated through the Ukrainian defense ministry in conjunction with Ukrainian cybersecurity expert Yegor Aushev, as reported by Reuters.

Zhora said Tuesday that IT Army volunteers are conducting other operations besides offensive actions. “A lot of people are helping us in OSINT,” he said, referring to open-source intelligence gathering, “in delivering of truth, of real content

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