Russian special services conduct purposeful activity against Ukraine in the information sphere and have separate units that work exclusively to stir up the situation in Ukraine.

“Against the backdrop of a hybrid war, the scale of Russia’s information aggression, which is organised and coordinated by these structures, is growing by times. They are focused on conducting special information operations and actions, including subversive ones. There are separate units that deal exclusively ‘with Ukraine’ and receive funding for this,” head of the Cyber ​​Security Department of the Security Service of Ukraine Illia Vitiuk said at the All-Ukrainian Forum “Ukraine 30.”

According to him, the tools in the hybrid war are TV channels, information portals, web resources, social media groups, e-mail services, Telegram channels, so-called “troll factories” and individual bloggers. They are used for anti-Ukrainian propaganda and destabilisation of the situation in the country.

The comprehensive protection of the national information space from encroachments by foreign intelligence services is systematic work for cyber specialists of the Security Service of Ukraine.

Over 2020, the Security Service of Ukraine:

  • blocked more than 2,500 social media groups with an audience size of one million and more than 20 botnets with a capacity of more than 60,000 accounts,
  • neutralised more than 600 cyber incidents and cyberattacks on information resources of public authorities,
  • stopped the activities of 20 hacker groups involved in such attacks.

“These networks are used to gather intelligence and personal data of Ukrainian citizens and then to attack the government agencies and critical infrastructure facilities,” Vitiuk stressed.

A significant share of such botnets and cyberattacks are coordinated from the Russian Federation. The situation with pro-Russian propaganda is similar as it is conducted by professional propagandists at the request of the aggressor country’s special services. The Security Service of Ukraine already served certain bloggers and Telegram channels’ administrators with notice of charges, in particular over treason and incitement to national hostility and hatred.

Natalia Tolub

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