Russia’s media has promoted the “military action” in Ukraine as a necessary measure in an attempt to mislead the people from seeing this as an all-out invasion. Russia’s communications regulator (Roskomnadzor) has banned media outlets from using the words “assault, invasion, or declaration of war” to describe the attack on Ukraine. Disobeying could be punishable by a fine of five million rubles ($60,000). Roskomnadzor said that “official Russian information outlets” are the only source for “reliable information.” Numerous social media platforms are now restricted or disabled in Russia in an attempt to shield citizens from the truth.
The internet has become a major tool to prevent and promote misinformation. Hackers worldwide have waged cyberattacks against Russia. Russian TV networks suddenly began playing Ukrainian songs over the weekend and the Kremlin’s government networks were disabled. Six outlets including Kremlin.Ru were impacted by the hack. The mysterious group Anonymous has taken credit for the repeated attacks on the Kremlin. The group has urged all Ukrainians to turn off their phone location tracking features as the Russian Army is able to see where large groups have amassed.
Videos have been posted to private chat forums of hackers interrupting Russian soldiers’ radio frequencies. Hackers have also destroyed sensitive information within the ministry buildings prior to Russian invasions. The Ukrainian government has taken to social media to beg for help from hacktivists worldwide to join their fight on the cyber battlefield.
This is only a small poke in terms of a cyberattack. Some may recall that in 2015, a cyberattack disabled Ukraine’s power plants, leaving 225,000 people without electricity. On Ukrainian Constitution Day in 2017, NotPetya, a ransomware attack, caused $10 billion in damages. Everyone is familiar and exhausted of hearing how the Russians may have hacked into international political elections in recent years. Hackers have become modern-day spies as they have the ability to cause significant damage to the point where separate military branches could be dedicated to cyberwarfare in the future.
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