Microsoft says the Russian government is coordinating cyberattacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure along with missiles and other physical strikes.
A Microsoft report issued on December 3 warns that Moscow has intensified its approach to pressure Kiev’s military and political support — both domestic and foreign. The report, which appeared in the form of a blog post, claims that Russia’s approach has included “destructive missile and cyberstrikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, cyberattacks on Ukrainian and now foreign-based supply chains, and cyber-enabled influence operations”.
The attacks are “intended to undermine US, EU, and NATO support for Ukraine, and to shake the confidence and determination of Ukrainian citizens”, wrote Clint Watts, General Manager of Microsoft’s Digital Threat Analysis Center.
“In recent months”, Watts continued, “threat actors affiliated with Russian military intelligence have launched destructive wiper attacks against energy, water and other critical infrastructure organizations’ networks in Ukraine as missile strikes knocked out power and water supplies to civilians across the country.”
Cybercampaign against the West
Russian military operators also expanded destructive cyberactivity outside Ukraine, he adds. Other victims include Poland, which serves as a critical logistics hub by supplying Ukraine with weapons and materiel from its Western allies. These attempts are most likely aimed at disrupting the movement of weapons and supplies to the front, Watts wrote.
This latest report from Microsoft comes after cybersecurity agency ENISA reported in November that the Russian attack on Ukraine has led to larger, more destructive cyberattacks over the past year.
In his blog post, Watts claims that Russian propaganda is seeking to “amplify the intensity of popular dissent over energy and inflation across Europe”. The Russians are doing this, he says, by “boosting select narratives” online through state-affiliated media outlets and social media accounts in order to “undermine elected officials and democratic institutions”.
Watts also issues a warning. “To date, these have had only limited public impact, but they foreshadow what may become broadening tactics during the winter ahead.”