Ukraine arrests hacker for aiding Russian missile strikes


Ukrainian security services have arrested a hacker who allegedly targeted government websites and provided intelligence to Russia to carry out missile strikes on the city of Kharkiv.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) revealed that its cyber unit had identified the individual, whom it accused of following instructions from Russia’s intelligence service, the FSB.

A hacker spied on Ukrainian military sites

The hacker allegedly spied and provided information to Russia on the location of military infrastructure in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.

This included potential sites for Ukrainian air defense and artillery positions. The detainee sent screenshots of electronic maps with the coordinates of these targets to the FSB via a messaging application, the SSU said.

“To gather intelligence about the defense forces, the man walked around the area and secretly recorded the possible locations of the Ukrainian defenders,” the SSU message said.

Russia used this information to carry out two missile attacks against the city’s civilian infrastructure, including a local hospital, the unit added.

Additionally, the SSU said the hacker was following instructions from the FSB to prepare a series of DDoS attacks on Ukrainian government websites.

Russia recruits Ukrainian spies

The suspect is an IT specialist living in Kharkiv. According to the investigation, he was recruited by the FSB via a specialized Telegram channel.

The SSU said he seized three mobile phones, a laptop and USB sticks, which were used to carry out sabotage operations against Ukraine.

The individual has now been issued “a suspicion notice” under legislation relating to the unauthorized dissemination of information about the supply and movement of arms and ammunition to Ukraine.

The suspect is in custody and faces up to 12 years in prison, the SSU said.

On January 3, 2024, the SSU reported that Russian intelligence services hacked online surveillance cameras to spy on air defense activities and critical infrastructure in kyiv ahead of the missile strikes.

The service warned Ukrainian citizens that publishing videos of defense forces’ operations constitutes a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment of up to 12 years.

US convicts Russian cybercriminal

In the United States, a Russian hacker was recently sentenced to five years and four months in prison for their role in the development and deployment of the Trickbot malware.

Of Russian nationality, Vladimir Dunaev, 40 years old, pleaded guilty to charges in December 2023.

Trickbot was modular malware designed to steal credentials, install backdoors and more, playing a major role in providing initial access to ransomware groups such as Ryuk and Conti.

It has been used in attacks on hospitals, schools and businesses across the United States, resulting in losses in the tens of millions of dollars.

Commenting on the sentence, Department of Justice (DoJ) Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri said, “This conviction demonstrates the Department’s ability to put cybercriminals behind bars, no matter where they are.

“Together with our partners around the world, we will continue to bring cybercriminals to justice. »

In September 2023, the United States and the United Kingdom jointly sanctioned 11 Russians are accused of being linked to Trickbot malware.

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