back to article Ukraine seeks volunteers to defend networks as Russian troops menace Kyiv

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, the latter's government is reportedly seeking cybersecurity volunteers to help defend itself. Meanwhile, Russia's CERT has warned critical infrastructure operators that any strange outages should be treated as "a computer attack." Reuters reported this morning that a Google Docs …

  1. nematoad Silver badge

    No help required!

    " form a negative image of the Russian Federation in the eyes of the world community,"

    I'd say that they were doing a pretty good job on their own.

    It would be ironic if the Russians were hit with some of the malware they have been inflicting on the rest of the world.

    One lives in hope.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: form a negative image of the Russian Federation

      Indeed. We here in the West thought we were were all poised with many evil and devious plans to smash the Russian economy, blight Russian culture, and grind Russia's reputation into the dirt ... until it became clear that Putin was doing that for us already. In fact, he's doing such a thorough job of it that we are starting to feel our plans weren't up to the job, and that maybe, in truth, our heart wasn't in it after all.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: form a negative image of the Russian Federation

        If there's one thing that is crystal clear, it's that Russian military superiority was all fake. All smoke and mirrors.

        All that pro-Putin hype, all that "fear Putin" "Putin strong" "obey big boss Putin" propaganda from Tucker Carlson, Fox News and Newsmax, Trump even.... Putin couldn't even take Ukraine.

        His soldiers are untrained conscripts, they don't want to fight. His professionals have less loyalty to Putin than to their friends and relatives in Ukraine. They know the hype is fake, they know their equipment is shit, they know they don't vote for Putin. Ukraine and Russian populace is well mixed from Soviet days, they are family, they don't want to kill their family.

        He cannot run proper supply lines to his tanks even. His army will be sitting ducks if they don't surrender.

        He's sending everything he has at Kiev to try to take it, desperation.

        Kazakhstan is not *refusing* to send forces, it *cannot* send forces. If the illusion of strength is popped, then who would suppress their democracy movement in Kazakhstan? Who will protect their resources if they send *their* army to help Putin? It's supposed to be Putin that shores up *their* dictatorships, not the other way around FFS!

        I think even Belarus will become quickly flip-able as Putin's army moves across the border too. It was Putin's army that suppressed the pro-democracy protests there. They can see what's happening across the border in Ukraine there and Luschenko is very very unpopular.

        Weakness breeds weakness, China can see how weak Russia is, if they cannot win against Ukraine, all those resources, all those minerals, all that oil, protected by Russian schoolboys.

        I bet Georgia wants back its land from those schoolboys too.

        NATO can and should take the opportunity to end the threat from Russia once and for all. Article 5 has been triggered, then can join the fight. They should.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: form a negative image of the Russian Federation

          While it is too early to tell the outcome, Ukrainian resistance tactics are proving effective. Denying Russian Tanks their advantage in open terrain by forcing urban assaults; where they fall victim to ambushes with the Javelin, etc. is definitely a good tactic. Let em drive a long way and run short of diesel. THEN smash the fuckers up.

          Motivated volunteers versus unwilling conscripts is perhaps playing a major role in the current status.

          Saw some stats earlier claiming 100+ tanks and 700+ armoured vehicles destroyed. That latter statistic is pretty damning, as that represents many losses amongst mechanised infantry units.

          Similarly, countering the spetznatz type raids via helo and transport plane - Ukrainian strategy seems to be working there too. Let them land and expose themselves; and then counter when they go out of supply. Tales of the Ghost of Kyiv are rampant. Real or not, the VVS is taking a battering. As was proven in the 70's, the combination of interceptors and SAMs is very, very tough for an attacking force to penetrate. Ukraine doesn't need to put it's air force on the offensive and take such risks.

          I regret that we have not gotten more involved but I am under no illusions that Putin would pull the nuclear trigger for a direct NATO intervention. I've seen it said that Putin has flipped. There probably is some rationale to those claims besides hyperbole; and all the more reason to believe he would escalate.

          Russia must be considering what must be involved in interdicting the NATO supply chain; this seems inevitable given the results on the front line.

          A non-NATO alliance might actually be better placed to engage Russia. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Finland, maybe others. Ukraine also establishing a foreign legion type outfit.

          Russian tactics failing will hopefully lead to their own generals turning on the boss, or, increased desperation and resorting to more indiscriminate attacks. The latter threat are absolutely why NATO should be prepared to commit more than just logistics. Unleashing the Chechen division is perhaps the beginnings of this - hardened killers actively motivated to commit war crimes. A terror weapon, and one that deserves every bit of disdain and respect simultaneously.

          I am not religious, but this is one case that prayers to $Deity are appropriate. The courage of the defenders literally has me in tears thinking about it. Besides morality, they absolutely have earned the victory we all hope for.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge

            Re: form a negative image of the Russian Federation

            Ukrainian resistance tactics are proving effective.

            Yes. At least for now. But even if they ultimately fail, it HAS to be done. it reminds me of something I saw in an attorney's office: a snake trying to eat a mouse, but the mouse was strangling the snake in defiance. You HAVE to resist. Always.

            I honestly believe that MOST Russians do NOT want this. But, if they speak out they run the risk of being arrested or simply "get disappeared".

            All indications seem to be that Russian troop morale is unusually low, and without support of the people, it will inevitably mean the end of Vlad the Putinator's political career. But he still has his finger on the button that could blow up the world. I think Russia needs to stop him ASAP. He's less of a swaggering narcisist now, more of a madman with weapons of mass destruction available at a moment's notice.

            Interestingly, from a cyber security standpoint, the Anonymous Hacking Group is apparently busy defacing Russian media and other web sites...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If only...

        If only someone could take all that Russian ransomware that's wired to not infect Russian language systems or Russian IP's and remove those restrictions...

        Maybe set the C&C comms to not allow decryption...

    2. ITMA Silver badge

      Re: No help required!

      Putin probably thinks he is demonstrating that he is the "strong iron man of Russia".

      Sorry mate - you just look like a Soviet era dinosaur with archaic Soviet era dinosaur thinking.

      And as for that thinly veiled threat of nuclear retaliation if anyone "interferes" - What you think MAD has gone way?

      Think again matey....

      Substitute "Putin" for "Snow"

      I wonder if the Russian people really understand where this dinosaur is taking them.

      1. ITMA Silver badge

        Re: No help required!

        And Putin has now made his threat of nuclear retaliation overtly.

        If Putin for one second thinks there will be anything left alive in what is now called Russia if he makes good on that threat, I think he is seriously mentally ill.

        There won't be.

        The utterly insance tragedy of this man's delusion is that there is likely to be not much left alive anywhere else on this planet either.

        Dobby needs to go.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Sink 'em

          The issue with ballistic missile submarines is the they can just disappear. That works both ways. They are out of communication most of the time, so if one has a mishap, it might be a very long time before one even knows one is missing.

          1. ITMA Silver badge

            Re: Sink 'em

            Very true.

            But I can have a good guess what US subs are doing right now - and it won't be just cruising around like nothing was going on.

            And between the US and Russia - I know who I'd bet on to know where the other side's subs are. Even the ones not sitting in ports rotting.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Sink 'em

              Overt USAF activity over Ukraine has now moved to Romania and Poland plus the Black Sea. Rivet Joint patrols, RQ-4B Global Hawks, KC-135 tankers on near permanent aerial station. Those are just the ones that they let us see.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: No help required!

        I wonder if the Russian people really understand where this dinosaur is taking them.

        I've known a number of Russians, and indirectly dealt with 'behind the iron curtain' kinds of things way way long ago in the past. They know. They just do not say anything, because if they do, it's likely to lead to arrests or "getting disappeared". Vlad thinks like a Soviet KBG agent, and that's how he would deal with dissent, maybe by labeling these people as traitors or even terrorists.

        But, I'm sure the Russian people know what's going on. They know.

  2. JimboSmith Silver badge

    So that’s the Champions League Final, Sochi F1 Grand Prix and Eurovision that they’re:

    a) not holding in Russia,

    b) cancelling,

    c) banning the Russians from entering,


    1. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

      UEFA, FIFA and F1 can do one."I am shocked, shocked, that this government from whom we have been happily been collecting sacks of cash and souvenir Rolexes for many years has Turner out to be not very nice". Get stuffed.

  3. Androgynous Cow Herd

    No Fecesbook for Russia?

    they could chalk that up to a Win no matter how things unfold.

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: No Fecesbook for Russia?

      We should be cutting them off from the internet entirely, and from the worlds financial systems. It's going to cause pain for the Russian people, but short of an assassination, the only way to get rid of Putin is for his own people to do it.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: No Fecesbook for Russia?

        That would stop information getting in to Russia, which would be a bad result.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: No Fecesbook for Russia?


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So now they have put out the ultimate sanction and banned Russia from Eurovision, it is time to put your bets on Ukraine winning the thing due to the popular vote...

    But may make it a little tricky to hold the competition in 2023 if they do win.

    1. Danny 2

      Re: Eurovision

      The British entry should be the English band 'The Ukrainians'. 30 years of folk rock including Ace of Spades.

      Britain also needs to start seizing Russian homes and yachts, giving them to Ukrainian refugees.

      And ban all Russian sports people from all competitions, like we did with apartheid South Africa.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Ukrainians

        I've been playing their albums all day...

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not optional

    I'm still wondering why BGP4 routes for ASes in Russia or Belarus are still being propagated.

    1. Necrohamster
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Not optional

      A "Great Firewall of China", in reverse.

      I wouldn't rule it out yet:

      Meanwhile The Graun reports that the Russian government is threatening local media with 5M rouble fines for negative reporting of the war:

      "On these resources, under the guise of reliable messages, publicly significant untrue information about the shelling of Ukrainian cities and the death of civilians in Ukraine as a result of the actions of the Russian Army, as well as materials in which the ongoing operation is called an attack, invasion, or a declaration of war, is posted."

      "Roskomnadzor strongly recommends that the editorial offices of the media, prior to the publication (broadcast) of materials in accordance with Article 49 of the Mass Media Law, establish their authenticity.

      We emphasize that it is Russian official information sources that have reliable and up-to-date information."

      Not quite censorship, but sailing close to the wind at the same time...

      1. Chronos

        Re: Not optional

        5M Rubles? After this disgrace, that's about 50p, isn't it?

        1. Necrohamster

          Re: Not optional


          Roughly £45,000. But it's Russia so they'll probably throw in a few extra trumped-up charges for free

      2. W.S.Gosset

        Re: Not optional

        "Computin says nyet."

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Not optional

      The world isn't yet in agreement that Russia should be cut off. They haven't even managed to get SWIFT cut for Russia, though they claim the financial industry sanctions are of a similar strength. From that, which they've used before, to actively trying to cut off international communication which hasn't yet been used as a sanction is a big step. In addition, you would need a lot of countries to work together to get that done. If only one country does it, it only blocks routing of packets from them to Russia, but doesn't do anything to people who are willing to route into a country that isn't on board. Since Russia has allies*, the decision would quickly have to be made whether to include them in the blocking, ignore them as only a few types of people would be able to use them, or convincing them to change their mind. It's harder than it looks.

      *Russia has allies: While they don't have allies that are also fighting in Ukraine with them, they have a few countries that actively support their claims (Belarus being the most obvious example). They also have a lot more countries that are willing not to do anything against them, including both China and Pakistan quite actively. Both are large countries with active internet presences through which Russia can route some traffic.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Not optional

        I think Belarus are Putin’s bitch because they are afraid not to be.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Not optional

          I have known someone from Belarus (recent co-worker, left for different company). Apparently they had an election in 2020 that resulted in FULL BLOWN RIOTS, because the Putin puppet was "elected" while the POPULAR guy was NOT...

          Vlad the Putinator's puppet leaders are NOT popular, and governing against the will of the people will ALWAYS fail... eventually, at any rate.

    3. fyflak

      Re: Not optional

      In such case the only left source of the information for Russian society will be Putin's owned media. I'm not sure if this is the way to go. Removing .ru however might be some small but nice alternative.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Putin on the ritz

    “ Britain also needs to start seizing Russian homes and yachts”


    Set all their posh London pads up as refugee homes for the displaced Ukrainians.

    Use Russian bank accounts to pay for food etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sink the Russian fleet

      Look, you can see from the footage that Putin's bombing *civilian* targets in Kiev. There's footage of Russian soldiers attacking a hospital, attacking apartment blocks, and so on. War crimes.

      It hasn't gone to plan, his army is phoning it in, they don't want to fight. China is distancing itself from Russia. So Putin is getting more desperate.

      You know where this leads right?

      Right now, you can sink the Russian fleet and its a military target. You can attack ground forces and they are military targets. But Putin is getting more desperate here.

      PUTIN WILL ROUND UP UKRAINIAN WOMEN AND CHILDREN, and use them as human shields, loading them on the ships, chaining them to rocket launchers, carrying them in ammo trucks as a shield. Once you decide you can commit war crimes, there is no bottom to the war crimes.

      And then it will be difficult and painful to act. His allies in US media, on Fox News and Newsmax will undermine and weaken resolve, promote Putin, and vilify NATO. Trump will call it genius, and promote Putin as some sort of mastermind.

      Forget pissy little things like seizing a yacht, that an oligarch probably visits once every few years and is happy to claim the insurance. You need to sink the Russian Black Sea fleet, and it needs to happen NOW.

      See those ships its sinking? The latest being the Japanese tanker? European cargo ships too, You have your justification, you have the backing of the world, so sink the fookers.

      1. Necrohamster

        Re: Sink the Russian fleet

        See those ships its sinking? The latest being the Japanese tanker? European cargo ships too, You have your justification, you have the backing of the world, so sink the fookers.

        I'd imagine that Western think-tanks have modelled the possible outcomes of any land war in Ukraine, and said "F**k getting involved in that". It's the Russian military, not a bunch of Iraqi farmers, so the stakes will be significantly higher.

        It's a difficult sell unless you've got skin in the game, which the US and the UK don't. Remember the US didn't want to get involved in WWII either? It took a physical attack on *their* infrastructure to stir them into action...and won't be any different this time.

        1. graeme leggett Silver badge

          Re: Sink the Russian fleet

          "Pan American Security Zone" (waters off North and South America) from early 1941 US warships in the zone escorted convoys bound for Britain and reported sightings of German submarines "in clear" for shipping to pick up on.

          Many Americans were against intervention but Roosevelt wasn't

        2. PriorKnowledge

          Ukraine should make the stakes higher

          A team should dress up as Russians and “fail” to blow Chernobyl sky high. At that point, there would be mandatory NATO involvement due to the threat posed to the West. Nobody would trust that the saboteurs aren’t simply Russian spies given how incompetent they’ve been in the past.

          Problem sorted for the Ukrainians!

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Ukraine should make the stakes higher

            I guess Russia had concerns about Chernobyl, either sabotage, radiation security, or just denying power. AFAIK the active reactors still provide a good chunk of Ukraine's electricity. But now Russia's taken possession, it's taken responsibility. There'd still be a pile of radiological sources in Ukraine though, so dirty bombs are still a possibility.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Ukraine should make the stakes higher

              What active reactors are you referring to? The last active Chernobyl reactor was shutdown 20 years ago.

              1. bombastic bob Silver badge

                Re: Ukraine should make the stakes higher

                Maybe he was thinking of Sellafield...

            2. Necrohamster

              Re: Ukraine should make the stakes higher

              "I guess Russia had concerns about Chernobyl, either sabotage, radiation security, or just denying power."

              Nah, they didn't.

              Look at a map. It just happened to be on a route which was the shortest way to get from Belarus to Kiev.

          2. bombastic bob Silver badge

            Re: Ukraine should make the stakes higher

            no. if they blow up anything,it should be directly related to the Russian invasion, something of high military value, with no civilian casualties.

            (false flag operations like that do not get you any friends around the world, at a time when Ukraine needs more friends and no criticism)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sink the Russian fleet

          The mechanised land war really isn't the problem. NATO is geared up to the eyeballs to deliver on that, and has been for a very, very long time. I would not fancy Russian chances on air-to-air on the offensive against NATO. On the defence, they would remain a tough nut to crack (because of the heavy investment in SAM networks).

          The major problem lies in the strategic nuclear arsenal. I have no doubt that Vlad has threatened Biden and others that they will roll that out "the instant response" threat on those lines.

          Of course, Hitler was incensed enough by American lend-lease to engage "neutrals" prior to the declaration of war. There is no doubting the skill and courage of the Ukrainian defenders; backed by NATO hardware. If the latter wasn't there, perhaps Vlads plans would be going more smoothly. One has to be wondering if Vlad is thinking about doing something to interdict the supply of NATO equipment. If I were him - I would be. And there's your escalation route (arguably, also why we should be there shooting the shit out of Russian Flankers & Frogfoot that leave Russian airspace).

          You can probably account for and torpedo all the SSBNs and heavy bombers. One doubts NATO has the ability to shut down the silo launchers, before they have a chance to open up.

          1. Necrohamster

            Re: Sink the Russian fleet

            I would not fancy Russian chances on air-to-air on the offensive against NATO. On the defence, they would remain a tough nut to crack (because of the heavy investment in SAM networks).

            Ukrainian TB2 drones seem to be destroying Russian SAM launchers left, right and center.

            Their Air Force seems to be more than a match for the Russians too, and I believe the former Soviet-bloc countries are supplying Ukraine with Migs now.

            It would appear at this early stage that we've greatly overestimated the Russians all these years.

        4. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Sink the Russian fleet

          as I see it, the smartest move (now that there are bullets and bombs involved) is to continue to supply Ukrainian resistance as best as be can, staging equipment, food, etc. in neighboring countries like Poland (where if the Putinator attacks he draws NATO into it), then keep the supplies and humanitarian aid flowing in as best as possible. So far that's what I see happening already.

          But as for sanctions, they might sting Vlad and his buddies but they do not bite him (nobody wants to do the obvious, i.e. have USA supply EU oil instead of Russia). And I think diplomacy should be shelved for a while, until Vlad is ready to come back to the table. Sometimes you just have to walk away and say "No" instead of begging for another meeting.

          Additional troops in NATO countries, for an obvious defense against further aggression, would be a VERY prudent move.

          According to Sun Tzu, it's supplies that ultimately determine the outcome in long term campaigns. I think the world can supply Ukraine, and it would cost us a LOT less than Vlad the Putinator would be paying to supply his OWN forces.

          (sorta like "lend lease" in WW2)

  8. VicMortimer

    Internet Explorer recommended.

    I'd feel a bit more confident if their "Cyber Resource Hub" page ( didn't contain this line:

    ** Note: These documents have features that may not work in certain web browsers. For best use, please open using Internet Explorer.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Internet Explorer recommended.

      Sure they are not meaning Internet Exploder? Works best with malware.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Docs form

    My heart goes out to Ukrainians (and to most ordinary Russian people as well, who I am sure really don't want this horrible situation to be happening to their "cousins" either), and I realise that it's extraordinarily difficult circumstances, but have they thought about what to do if/when Russian forces start taking out key internet cables and Google servers suddenly stop being accessible? Let's just hope that some of Ukraine's internet connectivity goes westwards and southwards as well.

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: Google Docs form

      Having worked with Russians for over a decade I can tell you not one of them supports this. All their facebook profiles are now flying the Ukrainian flag

      I expect any supporters of this invasion are likely old people feeling nostalgic for the old USSR

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google Docs form

        I have been working on and off in Russia (and Ukraine) for 30 years. What you say may be true of the Russians you know or who are expressing their opinions on LinkedIn or Facebook...but it is by no means universal. A huge number of ordinary Russians have been complacent or happy for Putin to flatten Chechnya, parts of Georgia, intervene aggressively in Syria, and fight a proxy land war in Donetsk and Luhansk for years. Many people have known no other leader, and those who do remember the "boundarylessness" that preceded him. For 20 years the Russian media has been tightly controlled, and Russians are far more reliant on broadcast media than many other places. Even if Russia loses in Ukraine, there is no chance of Russians in Russia facing military threats.

        All that isn't going to change overnight.

  10. KBeee


    Might sound a little inappropriate, but it sprang into my mind

    Had a collegue at work that would book holidays at any place that was in the News as a "Trouble Spot". He got rooms in a 5 star hotel in Cairo for £10 a night during the Arab Spring for instance. I wonder if he's in Kiev now...

    (just watched a video of a Ukrainian guy offer to help Russian soldiers broken down in an APC cos they ran out of petrol say "Can I give you a tow back to Russia?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opportunity

      I must say that some of the videos on youtube (I'm not on social media) are incredible... and to the western eyes, completely crazy, like driving past a gun battle (with you family in the back seat), or through artillery shelling. Some of the conversations Ukrainian civilians have with Russian soldiers are also bizarre, they troll them withe idle conversations, and both 'parties' seem relaxed, but it's as if both sides expect to change this 'we're cool, bro' - at any moment - to 'shoot / get shot at'. I expect those encounters will stop sharply, once the Russians start getting ambushed by 'non-combatants', and some molotov coctails have already been in use (ineffectively for now). Which also means, this will turn very, very bloody. That said, what have they got to lose? Their country is being wrecked and they're told they have no future, other than 'Russian world' - is there any stronger reason than to protect your home and family from invaders, even if you speak the same tongue?

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    '...any strange outages should be treated as "a computer attack."...'

    So, one slight cockup and it's the full FSB beating and trip to the gulag then?

    If you're a sysadmin in Russia, now is a very good time to come down with COVID...

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: '...any strange outages should be treated as "a computer attack."...'

      Hey - a SICKOUT!

      Brilliant idea! I wonder how many Russian sysadmins would just do this in a way of protesting the war?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I’d even consider the B Ark at this time

    We’re screwed

  13. Danny 2

    "I want to say a few separate words to those few European governments which are now trying to water down the sanctions packages, including the banning of Russia from SWIFT, and I will not be diplomatic.

    Some countries are trying to leave loopholes excluding a number of banks so that they can apply some measures with their left hand, while continuing to trade with Russia with their right hand. Stop doing this now. Stop trading with the blood of Ukrainian men, women and children. This is not a metaphor but the reality of what you are doing...

    It is critically important that Russia is disconnected from SWIFT on the fullest possible extent, all possible banks. Don't play political games and stop earning money soaked in our blood. "

    ~ Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister

    All Russian entities (banks, corporations, individuals) should be thrown off SWIFT today. As should any entity that also uses the Russian alternative to SWIFT (I've heard two estimates of 23 to 37 EU banks).

  14. Danny 2

    SWIFT non-sanctions

    Germany started feeling pressure to ban Russia from SWIFT, once demonstrators learned what that is.

    It's now been widely proclaimed that some Russian banks will be banned from SWIFT, although which banks and when remain unknown.

    This is whitewashing, distraction. Plugging only some holes in a leaky bucket leaves you with a leaky bucket.

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