War between Russia and Ukraine between hackers and cryptocurrencies

Innovation
War between Russia and Ukraine between hackers and cryptocurrencies

by Carlo Terzano

The war between Russia and Ukraine caused by the invasion decided by Putin also involves hackers and cryptocurrencies

In all likelihood, the war between Russia and Ukraine is the first to be fought simultaneously on two fronts: the battlefield, where people die, and the deep web, where hackers operate unchecked and large amounts of money are moved. in cryptocurrencies, in support of both sides. In recent days, the Csirt (Computer Security Incident Response Team) ’of the National Cybersecurity Agency, led by Roberto Baldoni, had issued an urgent warning on the possibility that pro-Russian hackers would hit Italian targets on 6 March. Nothing has happened, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. The same annual report of the Dis (Department of Information and Security) recently published underlines an “increase in cyber attacks by state actors”.
WHO ARE THE HACKER FACTIONS IN THE FIELD
According to information gathered by a cybersecurity research group called CyberKnow, there are over 50 groups in the field. Those who support Russia, at least officially, would be the minority: 14. In addition to the Conti group, which has been talked about in recent days as the main opponent of Anonymous, in the pro-Moscow lists there are the Free Civilian group, Coming Project, Sandwarm, Ghostwriter, the latter attributable to Belarus.
Supporters of the Kiev resistance come from all over the world: the BlackHawks and the Gangs are reported to be located in Georgia, the Monarchs and Turkish Activists in Turkey, GreenXparta_9haan in Indonesia. The list includes the Ukrainian hacker army, IT Army of Ukraine, set up by the government of Kiev to organize the cyber and information counter-offensive against Russia, which currently has 280,000 members.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES A NEW GOOD REFUGE IN THE WAR BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE?
And then there are cryptocurrencies: if the war between Russia and Ukraine has inflamed the prices of a large amount of raw materials – from gas to wheat, through metals and rare earths – and led to the collapse of their respective national currencies, according to data available, the populations concerned, to protect themselves from further devaluations, have started investing in virtual currency. In other words, cryptocurrencies are becoming a safe haven asset.
In Russia, then, cryptocurrencies are used to bypass the blocking of payment systems such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard. It is the reason why the Ukrainian authorities have asked the largest exchanges in the world, from Binance to Coinbase via Kraken, to freeze the movements of Russian customers, also to prevent those platforms from being used to circumvent sanctions.

1 / We’ve been seeing some questions / discussion around whether crypto can be used to avoid sanctions. A few thoughts …
– Brian Armstrong – barmstrong.eth (@brian_armstrong) March 4, 2022
Nothing to do, they will stay in the country: these operations contribute to the appreciation of digital currencies. Binance replied that Binance Charity, its own charity, will make at most a $ 2.5 million cryptocurrency donation to UNICEF to help Ukrainian families who have been affected by the war. Coinbase replied through its CEO, Brian Armstrong, that such blocks would only harm the population, not the oligarchs and that in any case 25,000 cryptocurrency portfolios attributable to Russia have been frozen.
Switzerland will freeze all cryptocurrencies owned by Russian citizens. The same decision was made by South Korea, which is currently blocking operations from Russian IPs (therefore an easily circumvented block) and Singapore, which in its sanction package spoke of limits to the cryptocurrency exchange. The EU should also move in this direction with the next sanctions.
Cynet, an Israeli company active in the detection and management of advanced threats in the field of cyber security, has analyzed and provided an estimate on the first movements of money, based on the bitcoin wallets of large criminal organizations. From the leaks published on Twitter by Conti Leaks on February 27 and relaunched by vx-underground, there is talk of 65,000 bitcoins, about 2 billion dollars, but there are also those who go so far as to hypothesize other figures: 79 billion dollars. “What emerges – commented by Cynet – is an evident fact: the availability of huge reserves of cryptocurrencies, developed in conjunction with the growth of the Cyber Warfare capabilities of Russian cyber gangs”.

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