Protecting Ukraine’s internet access and critical data | #microsoft | #hacking | #cybersecurity


U.S. technology companies are helping Ukraine defend against cyberattacks during Russia’s unjust war. (© Shutterstock.com)

By Leigh Hartman

The U.S. government and private sector are providing critical cybersecurity assistance to Ukraine, helping the country stay online during Russia’s brutal and unjust war.

The Kremlin’s further invasion of Ukraine has used information warfare tactics, including cyberattacks on core infrastructure and dissemination of disinformation through state-sponsored malign networks, as well as mass disruption of internet service, according to media reports and Ukraine’s government.

The U.S. Department of State has provided $40 million in cyber development assistance since 2017 to strengthen Ukraine’s cyber resilience, with another $45 million in supplemental assistance in 2022 to strengthen Ukraine’s cyber defensive capabilities.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has aided Ukraine’s national security and law enforcement, briefing partners on Russian intelligence services’ cyber operations and sharing investigative and response methods.

Support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) includes funding technical experts to help Ukrainian government ministries and infrastructure operators identify malware and restore systems after incidents.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power said in March that the agency’s digital programs have supported Ukraine against “repeated cyber attacks since before Russia’s invasion” and that USAID is helping Ukrainian government “officials maintain communications with each other and critical groups.”

SpaceX provided Starlink satellite internet equipment, seen March 25 in Lviv, Ukraine, to help Ukrainians stay online. (© Shutterstock.com)

USAID supported delivery of 5,000 internet terminals from SpaceX’s satellite internet service provider Starlink. The terminals can preserve connectivity, even when fiberoptic or cellular connections are damaged.

Tracking medical supplies

Other U.S. tech companies also provide assistance. Amazon’s web tools and logistics services help aid workers track Ukraine-bound medical supplies and support scientists conducting air quality monitoring around nuclear sites near war zones.

By moving 10 million gigabytes of data from servers in Ukraine to Amazon’s cloud, the company is helping Ukrainian ministries, universities and banks preserve critical information for postwar recovery.

Land record data “is vital for both those who invested their life savings into property and for Ukraine’s future reconstruction,” Amazon says. The company also has provided millions of dollars in aid for Ukrainian refugees, including for legal services.

Microsoft’s more than $100 million in assistance has helped Ukraine defend against a barrage of cyberattacks. “We have seen at least six separate Russia-aligned nation-state actors launch more than 237 operations against Ukraine — including destructive attacks that are ongoing and threaten civilian welfare,” Microsoft said in an April 27 report on hybrid warfare in Ukraine.

Providing aid

Google’s cybersecurity efforts and $45 million in aid to Ukraine earned the California-based company the Ukrainian government’s first peace prize. Google is “a great friend of Ukraine,” Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said in announcing the honor May 25.

“Literally from the first days of the war you started to help us on the information front, with many initiatives for business and most importantly — with the humanitarian support of our citizens.”





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