The Next War Front: How Microsoft is Fighting Russian Cybercriminals in Ukraine

in 2022 In January, its digital security units began receiving information that Russia was attacking Ukrainian government agencies with destructive data destruction malware that locks and wipes data from computers and servers.

Mr. Burt’s organization consists of various departments, including the Digital Crimes Unit, the Digital Diplomacy Group, and the relatively new Digital Threat Analysis Center. All of them work together with MSTIC, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center, which investigates the technical operations of cyber groups sponsored by aggressive countries, collects and presents data. Burtas quickly established direct contact with two Ukrainian cyber security officials, and they set up an encrypted communication channel to share intelligence.

Photo by Priit Hõbemägi/Specialists choose Microsoft's crime investigation center for large-scale cyber operations

Photo by Priit Hõbemägi/Specialists choose Microsoft’s crime investigation center for large-scale cyber operations

In fact, the hybrid war in Ukraine began the day before the military attack, in 2022. on February 23, when a data-destroying malware attack was carried out against 200 Ukrainian computer networks.

The malware was sent by Russian cybercriminal group Iridium, which is considered the strongest malware activation team. The attack began 10 hours before the rockets were launched and the tanks began to advance. Since then, MSTIC, Microsoft’s threat intelligence center, regularly shares cyber threat information with Ukraine and helps Ukrainians protect their networks.

T. Burtas, gray-haired and slightly rounded, gesticulating with his hands during the presentation, could be considered a kind-hearted pensioner who spends his time playing petanquebut in reality he is a world-class cyber soldier working on the front lines of the war in Ukraine.

– Tom, are cyber attacks related to military attacks?

– They are clearly coordinated. As Russia bombed a dam in Ukraine, cyber attacks on Ukrainian water utilities and government institutions were carried out at the same time.

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