Ukraine wants to legalize a controversial hacker brigade — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union

Ukraine is drafting a law to legalize its controversial hacker brigade, turning a pro-Ukrainian international “hacktivist” group in a “cyber-reserve” military unit, Newsweek confirmed with a state official in an article published Tuesday.

Secretary of Ukraine’s National Coordination Center for Cybersecurity Natalia Tkachuk told Newsweek that a law regulating the “creation and operation of cyber forces” is being fast-tracked in Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. She added that this new law would be the “Base for building state cyber defense capabilities, engaging cyber volunteers in such activities, and creating a cyber reserve.”

kyiv currently has a brigade of volunteer hackers called the “IT Army of Ukraine”, which it wants to get out of the legal gray area and integrate into the armed forces in an official capacity.

The IT Army is called a “global computing community” who represents the team of President Vladimir Zelensky and is “the supreme power in Ukraine, capable [of blocking] more than 800 targets simultaneously. They invite anyone with a phone to join and help launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on Russian online services, where they flood sites with internet traffic and cause an outage.

The group has claimed responsibility for crashing various Russian sites, including shutting down media websites during Vladimir Putin’s state of the nation address last month. The IT Army has also been criticized for targeting civilian facilities, including hospitals, in its attacks, according to Newsweek. The report claims that a representative of the group welcomed the decision to legalize their efforts, even if it meant disbanding the existing IT army to turn it into an official military unit.

It comes as Russia and Belarus signed a new digital security deal earlier this month to “increase the protection of the information infrastructure” And “to fight against destructive influences on information resources” of the two states.

At the same time, many Western media outlets are issuing warnings about alleged Russian cyber warfare. More recently, CNN said on Wednesday that Russian hackers were targeting European military and transportation organizations, citing a Microsoft report. Similarly, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told the Funke media group last month that hackers in Moscow were a “great danger” in Berlin.

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