Hybrid warfare combining both cyber and physical warfare is a fact and underway right now in the military conflict in Ukraine, notwithstanding the current ceasefire.
Viktoria Syumar, a former deputy secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, explained that: “Attacks by hackers caused the official websites of the National Security Council and the websites of many state agencies to stop working for several days during the military conflict in the eastern part of the country, posing a threat to the country’s national security. These stoppages demonstrated the country’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks. So far, hackers have been able to do everything in our cyber-space, and in particular to open, view and even block the work of state bodies. This is an unacceptable situation.”
This was confirmed by Svyatoslav Tseholko, Ukrainian President Peter Poroshenko’s press secretary, who said that recent DDoS attacks on the website of the Ukrainian President lasted for nearly six hours forcing all electronic communication to be carried via news agencies.
As a result of the cyber-warfare accompanying the conflict and the ever deepening tensions with Russia, The National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, an advisory state body to the President of Ukraine, together with the State Committee for television and radio broadcasting of Ukraine, have completed a new Ukranian state strategy for IT security.
In addition, Bogdan Cherva, director of the department of information policy of the Ukranian State Committee, says that the country needs to counter Russia’s information war against Ukraine. This includes what he describes as the distribution of false, incomplete and biased information by the Russian media regarding the current situation in Ukraine, aimed at manipulating public opinion within the territory of the country and abroad.
The new strategy involves implementing measures to prevent monopolising of Ukraine’s information space and the intervention by intelligence agencies of foreign countries in the information and telecommunication space of the country. It also involves the establishment of a National Centre of Cyber Defence and cyber threat prevention, a new state body that will focus on the fight against cyber-threats. It is expected to comprise senior officials from the Ukranian General Staff, the Ministry of Defence and External Intelligence Service.
Finally, the new strategy includes the establishment of a ‘national registry of crucial objects of national IT infrastructure’, with the aim of ensuring their protection.
Alongside the new state strategy, the Ukranian Parliament (Verkhovnay Rada) also plans to introduce a new law to significantly strengthen the country’s cyber-security. The new law is entitled: ‘On approval of the plan for the protection of state information resources’ and has already been submitted for consideration by the national parliament of the Ukranian government.