Not Only Is The Ukraine Dealing With Separatist Fighters On The Ground It Also Has Cyber Threats To Battle

The edge of the MH17 crash site, in an area under the control of separatists / Getty

As pro-Russian separatist fighting continues on the ground in the Ukraine there’s another front which the Eastern European state is having to contend with.

Releasing its Midyear Security Report today, networking company Cisco said the geopolitical events playing out in the Ukraine has heightened the security risk to its business and government cyber networks.

“Political instability in Ukraine ushered in a series of DDoS attacks and website defacements apparently calculated to complement actions on the ground,” Cisco said.

“The disruptions in Crimea and Kiev led to the discovery of sophisticated espionage malware on Ukrainian networks (dubbed Ouroboros, or Snake), which had gone undiscovered for months or years.”

Overnight Russia called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to deal with what it described as an urgent humanitarian situation in the Ukraine.

In recent weeks Russia has boosted its military presence along the Ukrainian border which, according to US officials, is a sign President Vladimir Putin is readying for a potential large-scale invasion of southeastern Ukraine. More on that here.

Cisco said fighting on the ground, not just in the Ukraine but throughout parts of the Middle East as well, is opening up the way to use “cyber tactics by both state and nonstate actors”.

“In the Middle East, the overrunning of entire sections of northern and western Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) is being accompanied by a social media campaign for sabotage and psychological warfare,” Cisco said.

Over the next six months Turkey’s elections, midterms in the US and an exit from Afghanistan are all political events which Cisco said are likely to create new “ripple effects” across the cyber world.

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