Ukrainians hacked into security cameras to monitor Russian movements

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Interference in elections, theft of industrial data, hacking of military systems… Cyber ​​espionage has taken off in the last two decades.

The invasion of Ukrainea war hybrid conducted both in the field and online, is described as the first cyberwar in history. Many accounts, more or less credible, circulate on cyber attacks carried out by Ukrainian IT professionals and hackers. the FinancialTimes collected the story of Nikita Knysh, CEO of cybersecurity firm HackControl and former hacker; the newspaper was able to corroborate the main elements.

His story begins at the start of the invasion when he tries unsuccessfully to obtain a position with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) for which he had worked in the past. Located in the city of Kharkiv, it is only 30 km from the Russian border. The first week, he moved with his employees and his equipment in the basement of a wallet factory. From there they were able to infiltrate chains Telegram occupied areas to relay pro-Ukraine messages.

Fake bomb threats

He thus created a group of about thirty people baptized Hackyourmom. After a week, they took refuge in the region of Vinnystia, much further from the fighting, in an inn which he had rented for several months in anticipation of the war. He then contacted Vsevolod Kozhemyako, one of his former mentors, one of the richest men in Ukraine. He managed to get him a Starlink terminal in order to be able to establish a connection thanks to the access satellite internet of SpaceX.

Nikita Knysh contacted high-level hackers he stalked while working at the SBU in order to recruit them and rally them to his cause. They provided him with databases of stolen bank cards, which he then shared with pirates low-level in a Telegram channel. They are notably responsible for numerous false bomb threats on air links with Russia, including those ofAir Serbia.

A Starlink terminal, consisting of the dish and the router.  Elon Musk sent thousands to Ukraine.  © SpaceX

Fake profiles to get photos of Russian soldiers

The group then went further, successfully hacking into thousands of security cameras as well as road surveillance cameras in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, as well as in Belarus. Using machine learning, they were able to analyze the images to differentiate between movements normal traffic military, and they shared the information with the Ukrainian army.

They even managed to fool Russian soldiers by creating profiles of attractive women on Facebook and social networks Russians. The Russians sent them photos, and they managed to get enough information to locate them. This was particularly the case of a Russian base near Melitopol which was destroyed by Ukrainian forces a few days later.

The group left the inn at the beginning of the summer, but continues its collaboration remotely. ” To me it felt like a fightsaid Nikita Knysh. Without silver, without great software, and even without ingenious hacks, you can use fraudsters, the dark web against your enemy. For now, Russian laws don’t matter; what we have is the experience of being in the first cyberwar “.

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