“Observe” or “resist” the digital machine of aggression in Ukraine

OPINION “The machine of aggression is moving across the land of the people of Ukraine towards their capital. There should be no words to argue with, let alone strive for, that push the light away from this dark reality. If the United States, Great Britain, Europe and the countries of the world believe that the mechanism of this aggression can only move at the pace of physical geography, we are fools. If we place our hope in this faith, we will fail in our responsibility to continue our determination. The mechanism of this aggression will move at the speed of our digital interdependence.

The most striking example of potential aggression in the absence of geography is NotPetya. NotPetya was in 2017. NotPetya was unleashed due to the indifference and irresponsibility of the very enemy that we all now condemn. This enemy’s active indifference through NotPetya has had a huge disruptive effect on vast supply chains and business operations around the world. We only expect to be ready for more in 2022, but the potential impact of more is unacceptable and if the stock we claim to serve is disrupted, it will be a terrible failure of our ability to work together.

Since the beginning of the year, experts from the cybersecurity community, public and private sectors have tracked and identified website corruption, denial-of-service attacks, disinformation campaigns, and the introduction of malware into Ukrainian systems that was supposed to harm systems. . And in recent weeks, these consequences have come to light.

All this is for destruction. And all this creates a very real possibility of crossing digital boundaries and causing harm. In addition, we believe with great confidence that Russia will use our digital assets for counter-messaging, manipulation and misrepresentation. Russia will use the digital commons to justify, explain and create excuses. And like many Cipher Briefs and Cyber ​​Initiatives Group members noted, others are watching.

We know it’s coming. We are preparing and responding. These effects are profit. But we are slow to act. To speed up, we could overcome our hesitation and defend together. We could take this moment to drop our individual programs and form the interdisciplinary collaboration and calibration that this moment requires. It’s not about sharing information. Sharing information was just the beginning.

We must quickly adapt to what the moment requires. That is why we issue a call to those who are ready to stand together. We ask our friends in government to stand with us to thwart this enemy’s efforts together, on behalf of the networks we serve, and without hesitation (but on defense). Right now, there is an unparalleled experience, opportunity, and common sense in our community. This can significantly complicate the digital threats that directly or indirectly come from this Russian aggression against Ukraine. So, we call on the friends of democracy and self-determination to come together to exchange ideas and knowledge, for operational cooperation, to defend the principles that we teach our children in our classes.

Being close to Ukraine means devoting everything and everything to making it harder for the digital aggression going on in Ukrainian systems today. We are grateful that many in the cybersecurity community and beyond are doing just that. Aggression will pass to us in digital form, as Russia is pressed close to the physical borders of the current capture. Thus, tomorrow’s unification means that we must increase our readiness to act without borders in defense of any aggression that we see in the digital space.

Cyber ​​Initiatives GroupOn Wednesday, May 25, there will be a public-private summit hosted by Cipher Brief CEO and publisher Suzanne Kelly and former NSA Deputy Director Rick Leggett. Book your seat today.


One way to do this is to recognize that the commercial space provides an extensive radar of what is known. Greater confidence in the knowable—the unclassified, vast knowl- edge—allows more precise use of the special facilities reserved for governments in the pursuit of the most hard-to-find knowledge.

As stated recently in Encryption, commercial intelligence has both depth and breath. And to stand out, intelligence obtained from commercial sources should not be seen as competing with classified or classified intelligence. We need information from commercial sources because it is the kind of information that we can use to make decisions in an unclassified environment. This means that it can be quickly deployed and taken action against it. It can fall into the hands of those in the public and private sectors, as well as in contested borders, who need it; we badly need it as we confront digital threats that seem very close, perhaps not like they’ve ever been before.

Governments emboldened to resist aggression can immediately, systematically, and then continually replenish their stockpiles and analysis with intelligence from commercial vendors. Not only because of the potentially unique perspective, not limited by dedicated government resources, and complementing secret and classified holdings, but also because both the questions and answers that can be applied and found in commercial intelligence information specifically allow for the immediate deployment of this information to those who need to act independently, separately, in defense of their own systems, services and on behalf of the people who depend on them.

Streamlining the production of reliable knowledge in these urgent circumstances is one way not only to say we support Ukraine, but to do something about it. And perhaps, at this moment, when Kyiv is surrounded and probably infiltrated, it is not enough to discuss what we can do to protect our digital addiction.

While recognizing this, we also acknowledge that as intelligence and security professionals, we have no way to remain with regret. We must soften what our experience tells us can happen. When we say we support Ukraine, we must start by standing together.

We believe that those who wish may reconsider the way in which knowledge is developed, classified and applied for effective collaboration; and we certainly believe that the use of a common platform contributes to this goal. In addition, we believe that those who wish must unite in an alliance to counter the speed and consequences of the convergence of the physical world to the digital world and the digital world to the physical.

In doing so, with all our leadership, innovation and energy, can we really act together to help Ukraine even more and fight the limitless digital offshoots of this history-changing aggression.

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