Russia spies on kyiv defenses via hacked cameras ahead of missile strike

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Russian intelligence services hacked online surveillance cameras to spy on air defense activities and critical infrastructure in kyiv ahead of recent missile strikes, the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has revealed.

The Kremlin was able to remotely control two residential cameras, which it used to collect information to target critical infrastructure in kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

This likely includes the large-scale missile attack that took place on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, during which Russia fired around 100 drones and missiles against kyiv and Kharkiv.

One of the webcams was located on the balcony of a residential building, which residents used to monitor the surrounding area.

After Russian hackers gained remote access to control the camera, the Kremlin secret service changed the settings to change the viewing angle and connect the feed to YouTube. This allowed them to record all visual information within the range of the camera.

The second online camera was located in a separate residential building in kyiv, used by residents to monitor the adjacent parking lot.

The SSU said Russia remotely controlled this webcam to secretly record the view of the surrounding area, including critical infrastructure.

The cameras were taken down once the SSU identified these locations.

“The attacker used these cameras to collect data in order to prepare and adjust strikes on kyiv,” the SSU said.

Ukrainian citizens warned

The SSU urged Ukrainian citizens with surveillance cameras to stop online broadcasts from their devices and report any streams detected on platforms like YouTube to authorities.

He warned that publishing videos of defense force operations constitutes a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment of up to 12 years.

The service added that it had blocked around 10,000 online cameras that could be used to gather intelligence on Ukraine’s defense operations since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022.

It is now working to neutralize further attempts by Russia to access online surveillance camera feeds.

Hacking surveillance cameras to report physical attacks is another example of how Russia coordinate cybersecurity with kinetic warfare to maximize the damage it causes.

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