Cyberattacks quietly launched by Russia before its invasion of Ukraine may have been more damaging than intended
Russia is known for its potent cyber-warfare capabilities. So it is no surprise that Moscow launched cyberattacks against Ukrainian targets in the lead up to its invasion in late February. Russian hackers went after a variety of Ukrainian targets in the private and public sectors, but one cyber weapon aimed at a specific military target spilled over and affected tens of thousands of devices outside Ukraine. A few hours before the Russian invasion began on February 24, Russian hackers launched a cyberweapon against Viasat, an American satellite communications company that has been providing communication services to the Ukrainian military. Named “AcidRain,” the cyberweapon was a kind of malware known as a “wiper” that targeted Viasat modems and routers and erased all their data before permanently disabling them. The cyberattack targeted commercial satellite communications networks in an attempt to disrupt the Ukrainian military’s command and control and sow chaos among Ukrainian units on the battlefield as Russian forces crossed the border.