Could cyber attacks soon be considered war crimes? – Business AM


According to a statement by the Computer Emergency Response Service of Ukraine (CERT-UA), there were more than 2,000 war-related cyberattacks in 2022.

Why is it important?

The war in Ukraine has been going on for almost a year now, on the battlefields but also on the net. Cyberattacks play an important role in modern warfare.

News: General Aymeric Bonnemaison, head of the French Cyber ​​Defense Command (COMCYBER), spoke in a statement about cyberattacks in Ukraine.

  • General Bonnemaison estimates that 350 cyberattacks against Ukraine took place in the first two months of the conflict. 40% targeted critical infrastructure and 30% had national-level impact, relays BFM-TV.
  • According to the head of Ukraine’s cybersecurity department, more than 4,500 Russian attacks have been neutralized in ten months of conflict.
  • Some “very advanced” managed to break through the Ukrainian defenses. In particular, they managed to hit a Viasat satellite communication channel widely used by Ukrainian forces. This offensive was partially offset by the availability of the Starlink network. Other more recent attacks have focused on the country’s electrical installations.
  • According to CERT-UA, the public sector represents a quarter of the targets of Russian cyberattacks.
  • But that doesn’t worry General Bonnemaison, who explains that “this defensive advantage constitutes a real paradigm shift (…) all with a lot of creativity and innovation’”.
  • However, he prefers to remain realistic: “When gunpowder speaks, the computer’s offensive struggle finds its limits. (…) Without cyber, we will certainly lose, but we will not win with cyber alone”.

“Putin wanted to preserve the infrastructure, because he thought he would win the war in a few days and he wanted to take advantage of it”

General Aymeric Bonnemaison

The challenge : One of Ukraine’s top cybercrime officials said in an interview with political that certain cyber-attacks against vital Ukrainian infrastructure may constitute war crimes.

  • Classifying Russia’s digital attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure as war crimes would be historic news. Academics and researchers have been advocating for this since early 2022, calling on the ICC Prosecutor’s Office to add cyberattacks to its investigations into the war in Ukraine, reports political.
  • Victor Zhora, head of digital transformation at Ukraine’s State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection (SSSCIP), said Russia had launched cyberattacks in coordination with conventional attacks. For Kyiv, this strategy is enough to consider these to be war crimes committed against its citizens.
  • “When we look at the situation in cyberspace, we notice some coordination between kinetic attacks and cyber attacks, and as most kinetic attacks are carried out against civilians – being a direct act of war crime – actions in cyber support can be considered war crimes. ” Mr. Zhora explained.
  • Ukrainian authorities are gathering evidence of cyberattacks linked to military strikes and sharing that information with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in an effort to support potential prosecutions over Russia’s actions, the official said.

Leave a Comment