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The conflict between Russia and Ukraine which develops quickly into a widespread cyber conflict is also related to NATO and Western countries.
The two countries have significant cyber resources and until now have only exchanged digital tussles, however the situation may develop quickly into a *real* cyber war.
Modern Russia has a rich history of using cyber-attacks as an effective tool for punishing “rogue” states and an auxiliary arm to ground assaults.
In 2007, in response to disagreement with Estonia on the location of a war memorial, the small country has suffered cyber-attacks which lasted around 10 days, which paralyzed its entire business sector.
In 2008, as a move ahead of a ground invasion, Russia allegedly operated a sophisticated cyber-attack against Georgia, which paralyzed the country’s communications infrastructure.
Apart from cyber capabilities as part of intelligence and espionage branches of the country, it is estimate that many times Russia has used the services of sophisticated cyber-criminal organizations such as the Russian Business Network, a criminal organization that specializes in identity theft and digital attacks, which employs some of the most talented hackers in the world, as well as dubious hacker group called CyberBerkut.
But this is just the beginning of Russia’s digital espionage on its neighbors and the west.
Recently, it has been discovered that at least since 2009, Russia has operated a sophisticated espionage system called “Sandworm”.
The system used a security flaw in different Windows versions, which allowed spying on various factors such as NATO, the European Union, the Ukrainian government, security corporates and communication corporates.
The purpose of the worm was to obtain various documents dealing with Russia and Ukraine, as well as security keys that allow the virus to continue spreading to other computers.
The worm has been called “Sandworm” because the code it was assembled from contained various rich references to the classic sci-fi book “Dune”.
It seems NATO and its allies are taking seriously this cyber threat, as it began to conduct the largest cyber war exercise that ever took place.
Hundreds of security experts from thirty different countries gathered in Estonia to practice protection and response to a large-scale cyber-attack, which requires response and coordination from various countries associated with the alliance.