September 26, 2022

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Why has the port of Cyber ​​Pearl not taken place since the invasion began?

Why “Cyber ​​Pearl Harbor” It has not (yet) taken place since the war began In Ukraine ? If this expression first refers to a potential cyber attack against the United States, it usually refers to the tide Cyber ​​attacks This has been feared by many experts since the beginning of tensions against US allies, especially between Russia and Ukraine. From the first days of the conflict, they feared that Russia would seek to undermine Ukrainian security in this way.

However, it confirms that “if there had been Russian cyber attacks since the beginning of the invasion we would have had no evidence that there was anything near Pearl Harbor”. 20 minutes Alexis RobinResearcher in the Laboratory of Multidimensional Conflicts at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

“It takes a lot of time” to install an effective cyber attack

“Historically, cyber-attacks used in war situations were minimal, with the aim of creating a tactical or strategic impact,” said Alexis Robin. [en 2008 en Géorgie par exemple], Military effects were minimal, otherwise could not be ignored. “Cyber ​​instability has not been used as much as we thought,” Christine Samandel confirms. Chief of Staff Within Bordeaux Cyber ​​Security Tehtris. From the moment Russia entered the framework of ground-based armed conflict, cyber-attacks have not been a key tool. ⁇

Cyber ​​is, in fact, a very valuable tool for “committing acts of hostility relatively stealthily and protecting one’s interests while at the threshold of conflict,” continues Alexis Robin. “But once a real war breaks out and the masks fall, we can use drastic measures. For example, if we want to snatch the power of the Ukrainians, we can directly bomb the power plants. Especially to establish an effective cyber attack” takes a long time, and the consequences are usually short-lived. “

“Various Russian cyber attacks using wipers”

However, there are other possible explanations. “One of them is that there have been significant attempts at Russian cyber-attacks, but the vulnerabilities have not yet been documented, or the Ukrainians have been able to defeat them wisely because they were well-prepared and resilient,” said Alexis Robin. United States, US cyber commanders were sent to Eastern Europe in support of them. ⁇

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That does not mean that nothing has happened on the cyber front since the beginning of the conflict. Not far from there. “We have seen various cyber attacks against Ukraine,” Alexis Robin continued. One of the main hacks that came with the invasion was the cyber attack Satellite Internet Provider, ViaSat caused major computer crashes across Europe as a result of the ricochet effect. There have also been various Russian cyber attacks using Wipes [des logiciels malveillants programmés pour effacer les données d’un ordinateur], Which targeted various Ukrainian government agencies, although we do not have much information on the extent of the damage they caused. ⁇

The third important component is that “cyber attacks against various Ukrainian Internet providers, especially Triolan and Ukra Telecom, have significantly reduced the connection of Ukrainian users, usually only for a few hours.” ⁇

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To this must be added the “flood of a series of attacks.” Denial of service (DDoS)Of Distortions Websites and massive data leaks against ministries, companies or the media are carried out mainly by hacktivist groups on both sides, especially pro-Ukrainian groups. Anonymous. ⁇

When Estonia experienced the world’s first cyber war in 2007

However, the “cyber-pearl port” is still feared, especially as Russia has been suspected of improving its weapons on the basis of cyber-attacks against its neighbors for more than fifteen years. Thus Estonia was affected One of the first cyber wars Historically, in 2007, tensions with the Russian community in the country were linked to displacement Talin “Bronze statue”, a statue of a Russian soldier from World War II.

The country first experienced the first wave of cyber attacks, which were a complete denial of service and targeted government sites, banks and the media. Then there was the second big wave emitted from 60 countries. For nearly a month, the websites were thus flooded, forcing the international link to close or disconnect.

“This attack on Estonia is a significant feature because it is the first state-level cyber attack,” Christine Samandel recalled. During the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, any state from Estonia relied on the operation of its companies based on new technologies. In this “e-Republic”, almost 100% of administrative services are digitalized, and Internet access has been a constitutional right since 2000. “There was a desire to paralyze and destabilize the country. On the other hand, the difficulty in these types of attacks is that it officially recognizes its author, especially when it is a question of a state that can act from other territories.

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Continued The Georgia During the conflict with the separatists in 2008, Ukraine finally came under cyber attack since 2014. At the end of December 2015, cyber attacks were carried out against the Ukrainian power grid, causing power outages and losing 220,000 people. However, cyber experts have concluded that the damage could have been much worse, and that this shows a force.

“Cyber ​​attack on Western country is a big mistake”

One of the other concerns today is whether Russia will launch a major offensive against one or more Western nations. The United States also claims to have failed, most recently, a Cyber ​​attack attempt Russians against American and European infrastructure. However, “launching a cyber attack against a Western country would be a grave mistake and not in Russia’s favor because the entire international community would react”, Christine Samandel puts it in perspective, recalling a cyber attack. The reason stated and proves that the state is of native origin, “recognized as long as the defensive proportions in cyberspace.”

Alexis Robin adds, “At this point there is little risk of targeting critical infrastructure or strategic companies, which presents the risk of escalation, and at first glance, Russia’s interest in the West. [peu] Involved in conflict. ⁇

The “real danger” against Western companies

On the other hand, he believes that there is a real risk against Western corporations: “You want to attack us financially with your sanctions, and we will make a difference in our way.”

Alexis Robin insists that one of the main uses of cyber in the context of the armed conflict is to spy on and monitor enemy communications and, from this perspective, “explicitly retains all its usefulness in cyber conflict.”