US confirms military hackers are supporting Ukraine as Russia continues cyber-warfare

U.S. MILITARY hackers have run offensive campaigns in support of Ukraine, according to officials.

General Paul Nakasone, the head of U.S. Cyber Command confirmed on Wednesday that the U.S. had “conducted a series of operations” in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


General Paul Nakasone, the head of U.S. Cyber Command confirmed on Wednesday that the U.S. had “conducted a series of operations” in response to Russia’s invasion of UkraineCredit: AP

Officials have also conducted separate “hunt-forward” operations to identify foreign hackers and their weapons before they could be used against the U.S., Nakasone said in an interview with Sky News.

“Hunt forward operations play a crucial role in the U.S. Cyber Command’s persistent engagement strategy,” the four-star General, who is also director of the National Security Agency (NSA), said in a separate statement.

These teams deploy to countries that have formally requested support to “defend and harden U.S. networks and systems and critical infrastructure, while also yielding insights and intelligence valuable to both us and our international partners.”

Concerns about Russian forces conducting a cyber attack against the U.S. have been growing in recent months – and especially since the Kremlin invaded Ukraine in February.

Following the invasion, President Joe Biden imposed sanctions on Russia and said it was very likely that the nation would respond with malicious cyber warfare.

“This is a part of Russia’s playbook,” the President said. “My Administration is reiterating those warnings based on evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks.”

Even before the Kremlin invaded Ukraine, the U.S. has been fearful of Russian cyber-attacks.

In fact, U.S. military cyber specialists went to Ukraine in December 2021, after being invited by the Kyiv government, Nakasone said.

He added that they stayed there for nearly 90 days and left shortly before the invasion took place.

In that time and since, the cyber team “conducted a series of operations across the full spectrum; offensive, defensive, [and] information operations.”

While the General did not reveal details surrounding the activities, he explained that they were lawful, in compliance with the Department of Defence, and carried out with civilian oversight.

“My job is to provide a series of options to the secretary of defense and the president, and so that’s what I do,” he said.

Nakasone purposefully did not expand on the “options”, adding that the U.S. is going for “strategic disclosure” at this point in time.

“The ability for us to share information, being able to ensure it’s accurate and it’s timely and it’s actionable on a broader scale has been very, very powerful in this crisis,” the General said.

This is “unlike Russia”, which reportedly carries out such operations with lies, Nakasone added.

“A classic example is in 2020, when we saw a series of different proxies, in this case, troll farms that were starting to develop in Africa.”

Nakasone confirmed that Cyber Command specialists have been deployed to 16 other nations for the purpose of gathering intel and intelligence.

He noted that in every scenario the team had been invited by the nation.

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