The Cyber War: Russian railway chaos

There has been a considerable increase in the number of cyber attacks against Russia in the past eighteen months. Aleksandr Shoitov, the Russian deputy minister for digital affairs, said at the end of June: “The attacks are really getting harder.” He also hinted at the sophistication of the attacks: “Hackers are using rather difficult vulnerabilities.” In the first week of July, Western hackers got access to the Russian railways’ ticketing system and caused chaos with what RIA Novosti called a “massive attack”. In June, the country’s inter bank payments system went down for a short time following a cyber attack that disrupted business across the country. A group of Ukranian hackers claimed responsibility for that attack. In April, an attack disabled the computer systems of the Federal Customs Service. Russian customs officers were reduced to using pen and paper. At one Customs point, only 44 freight vehicles were able to pass that day rather than the usual 200+. In June, there was an attack against Apple iphones that Russia blamed on the western intelligence services. The popular Russian messaging app Telegram is full of Russian bloggers logging each cyber attack and denouncing the West as responsible.

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