Russia Planning Cyberattacks on Ukraine's Energy Grid

Ukraine military intelligence says Russia is planning cyberattacks on the country's energy sector, as well as against allies including Poland and the Baltic states.

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Abstract art showing Russian and Ukraine flags
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As protests against military conscription rage inside Russia, the country is planning to continue its offensive into Ukraine with cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. 

The Odessa Journal reported Ukrainian military intelligence has learned the first cyberattacks will soon be launched against the Ukrainian energy sector, informed by previous Russian cyberattacks on the country's electricity infrastructure in 2015 and 2016.  After energy supply operations are crippled by cyberattacks, the Russian military plans to ramp up missile strikes on those facilities to shut down the electrical service throughout the war-battered country. 

"The occupying command is convinced that this will slow down the offensive actions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces," the Odessa Journal added. 

Additional cyberattacks are being planned against Ukrainian allies Poland and the Baltic states, according to the report. 

Russian Tactical Shift? 

With increasing pressure to show military gains, Russian cyber threats are a potentially effective way to ramp up offensive measures without drawing military retaliation, according to John Hultquist, vice president of intelligence analysis at Mandiant said in response to the reports of anticipated cyberattacks. 

He added in the months since the occupation of Ukraine began, Russia hasn't been launching cyberattacks outside of Ukraine, indicating a potential shift in focus on cyberwarfare by the Kremlin. 

"Many of the disruptive and destructive cyberattacks we have seen thus far have been disrupted, isolated, or largely limited to Ukraine, where there is intense focus," Hultquist said. "With a few exceptions we have not seen the scaled, serious attacks we expected even before the war began."

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