back to article Russia's invasion of Ukraine tears open political rift between cybercriminals

Cybercriminals are taking sides over Russia's deadly invasion of Ukraine, putting either the West or Moscow in their sights, according to Accenture. The consultancy giant's Cyber Threat Intelligence team, which tracks illicit dark-web activity, said in a report [PDF] dated Monday that this is the first time it has witnessed " …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Is the West OK when the gun points the other way?"

    Are we ok when "the gun" of minor cyber-inconvenience is pointing at a neo-fascist dictatorship engaged in a genocidal war of aggression against their democratic neighbour?

    You know what I might find some room in my heart to forgive them this particular transgression.

    After all there are certainly bigger "guns" to be concerned about at the moment. Particularly if you're a Ukrainian.

    1. Jozeph.K

      Re: "Is the West OK when the gun points the other way?"

      I am usually OK when a gun is not pointing at me ....

  2. HildyJ Silver badge
    Pirate

    Rogues

    It's one thing when a Ukrainian security specialist breaks into Conti and dumps their dirty laundry on the interwebs. I applaud that and wish other No Such Agencies would do it as well.

    But trusting in rogue cybercriminals to lead the attack on Russia is a fool's game. As one pointed out, they're in it for the money and that is the one thing Russia doesn't have.

    If some Ukrainian cybercriminal group starts wiping out strategic Russian databases, maybe I'll change my mind, but a few websites taken down or even taken over for a time doesn't impress me.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Rogues

      Previously they were all going after the west because that's where the money is. If only some of them are going after the west and the rest are going after Russia I consider that a win regardless of their actual success, or lack of, in attacking Russia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rogues

        if it wasn't for the politics (mafia) of the region, they wouldn't be steeling from the west, because they wouldn't need to steel at all. (not completely true as some people are just bad) Better economy means better life style. But it also means less control over the population - something that doesn't bide will with dictators.

  3. Potemkine! Silver badge

    "Is the West OK when the gun points the other way?"

    Of course.

    The enemy of my enemy is a friend.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: "Is the West OK when the gun points the other way?"

      The enemy of my enemy is a friend [or another enemy].

    2. General Purpose Silver badge

      Re: "Is the West OK when the gun points the other way?"

      In European history, the enemy of my enemy often turns out to be my enemy too.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "Is the West OK when the gun points the other way?"

        But not usually at the same time.

        1. General Purpose Silver badge

          Re: "Is the West OK when the gun points the other way?"

          Often enough. A few 20th-century examples

          - Spanish Civil War

          - Greek resistance in WW2

          - Yugoslav resistance in WW2

          - Irish Nationalists

          - Ulster Unionists

          - Bolsheviks and Mensheviks

          - White Army and Czechoslovak Legion

          - Italian organised crime in WW2 (Mafiosi fighting both fascists and communists went down great with the occupying Americans)

          and I'm sure there are many others that I should remember.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Ukraine offered tool to search billions of faces"

    BBC Story link.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thick as fucking mince

    It's one thing for ordinary people in Russia to be won over by propaganda - they've only got the state channels as their news source.

    But cybercriminals, by definition have the means and the knowledge to access sources from around the world.

    Don't trust western news to tell the truth? OK, go verify on a Hindi news site.

    For them to still claim that this is the result of Western aggression makes them either thick or liars. They're not supporting Russia, they're supporting Putin and the horrors done in his name.

    May their code always suffer from off by ones.

    1. TiredNConfused80

      Re: Thick as fucking mince

      It kind of depends if they are actually "third party" hackers or "employed by the FSB" hackers....

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Thick as fucking mince

        Or "3rd party, but the FSB knows where I live"

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Thick as fucking mince

      "For them to still claim that this is the result of Western aggression makes them either thick or liars."

      I think they're looking after their own interests, or think they are. They've flourished while he's in charge and rely on him continuing to be there. They probably expect him to be ousted if the invasion fails and that the price of Western help putting the Russian economy together is going to include their being rooted out.

  6. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "Is the West OK when the gun points the other way?"

    Yes.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    "claims of Western warmongering"

    I'm sorry, remind me of who's tanks have invaded a sovereign nation again ?

    The Pravda spouting misinformation and outright lies is par for the course, for hackers it's just them trying to gain the high moral ground.

    You were attacking us before Putin invaded Ukraine, and you'll be attacking us whatever happens after.

    You're always attacking us anyway, so taking a lie to paint yourself in a good light is just laughably pathetic.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "claims of Western warmongering"

      "it's just them trying to gain the high moral ground."

      I don't think they have any alternative. While Putin's there if they're not for him they're against him and if he's not there they're in trouble anyway. They've got to prop him up for their own sakes.

  8. Spanners Silver badge
    Devil

    'enemies of Russia'

    The biggest enemy of Russia is the enemy of the rest of the planet as well - Vladimir Putin.

    Yes we have other enemies but only one is sending tanks at us at present so he qualifies as the biggest problem at present.

    Putin is the one who is sending young people to their deaths attacking another country. Putin is the person whose friends have made huge fortunes off the Russian people. He is their enemy. At the moment, only small numbers of very brave people are protesting about it. In the future???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'enemies of Russia'

      The biggest winner will be China, simply by largely staying out of it, and possibly by selling arms to Russia on top of that. Meanwhile Russia isolates and bankrupts itself, and the West is not fully aligned and is also struggling financially after Covid lockdowns.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'enemies of Russia'

        Sadly you're right. At the end of the day China is looking out for China and no one else, they don't want to be dragged into this by someone they probably do see as a madman. They know after he's long gone ( any day soon hopefully! ) any consequences will reverberate back on them and they don't want the grief especially if it impacts their economy, their "psuedo free-market brand of Communism" is working out very well and keeping lunatics at arms length is top priority to ensure those free trade agreements stay in place and keep the green rolling in!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'enemies of Russia'

          I have no doubt that if the world did not support Ukraine as it has been, Xi would have taken Taiwan in the last couple days.

          Very tense world right now.

      2. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

        Re: 'enemies of Russia'

        Russia has a series of fundamental challenges and I'm not sure how this can end with diplomatically palatable options.

        Ignoring the "Putin bad" simplification in the media. You need to look at it from Putin's paranoid perspective, 70% of Russian exports are petrochemicals/energy (gas, coal, oil etc.). The petrochemical companies effectively fund the Kremlin and Putin's pension. A significant amout of these exports travel via pipelines in Ukraine and Belarus to Europe. Ukraine transports ~ 75% of EU gas from Russia, with Russia paying $3bn a year to Ukraine to allow the transit.

        In an odd but notable coincidence, on the day of the invasion, Ukraine was testing a disconnection from the Russian power grid to move onto the EU power grids. I am unclear whether that was a background cause or a 'final straw'.

        Throw in the EU's strong commitment to 'net zero', rapid ongoing expansion of renewable energy and, in particular, the Danish-German-Spanish-Netherlands projects to replace natural gas with green hydrogen, and you may understand why Putin is a wounded bear with a hurt ego. His economy faces a 2-4% annual reduction up to 2050, at which point their economy may have lost $2tn of income.

        To complete the circle, you need to consider that Shell had found giant shale gas reserves in 2012 with Shell lined up with a 50-year $10bn drilling license for development in 2013. Funnily enough, the areas where the gas was found (Crimea and East Ukraine) began developing an unusually militant and anti-Western sentiment within 12 months of the shale gas discoveries, leading to the 2014-2015 annexation of Crimea and the ongoing wars in East Ukraine/Donbas that were clearly directed by the Russians. The discovered shale gas sites had a value of at least $150bn. Russia probably wants to incorporate these reserves into their own, blocking Ukraine from selling their own gas to the EU and cutting off Russia's core sales to the EU. Also, by taking over the Ukraine they presumably do not have to pay the $3bn a year "pipeline transit fees".

        In summary, it's a mess.

        1. Eponymous Bastard
          Coat

          Re: 'enemies of Russia'

          Indeed, and well said l_r_f . Call me a cynic, I am often called far worse and delight that I have caused such offence to elicit said response. Is the net zero frenzy driven, at least in part, by those who seek to deny the element of control over fossil fuel production which lies in the Middle East? In the light of Putin's aggression might the same net zero zealots want to consider how we are expected to produce electricity on a dull windless day in December in the UK without some form of energy production which can remain constant. Maybe nucular as a Bush would have described it . . . I'll need my fucking coat soon.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Wind-Solar-H2 Nonsense

            The German Greenies are sorry victims of COMINTERN (for lack of a better term) mind control. The objective is to de-industrialize Germany and ideally many other "enemy" nations.

            If you do not belive me, look up EROI:

            Nuclear 100

            Coal 60

            Wind 18

            Wind+H2 6

            Many national economists think that advanced, powerful industrial societies need high EROI energy sources to sustain their wealth and way of life. The commies figured this and then targeted Europe and its industrial heart, Germany.

            So far, highly successful for the commies.

          2. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

            Re: 'enemies of Russia'

            There's a few complications in this area, but they are relevant.

            Offshore wind pricing has gone from "bloody expensive" to becoming one of the biggest and cheapest British energy source based on 2021 prices. Below half the cost of nuclear energy. There have been overwhelming price reductions since 2016.

            Britain has the highest wind speeds and largest shallow coastline in Europe (= cheaper steel bases). But storage has been an absolute nightmare for it. Enter companies like ITM Power and others in Germany manufacturing hydrolysers (turning water + power to hydrogen, which can be stored like natural gas and burns to product power + water). Huge projects are lined up. True GW scale projects are not that far away. Read the ITM power annual investor presentation, it's barking mad how hot that sector is.

            The British, BP, Shell, Orsted and the like are now transitioning steel production to green hydrogen (slowly). We in Britain hope to set up an export trade for our surplus energy. I presume the Russians are also annoyed at this new competition it has absolutely no hope of competing with.

            Perhaps also with net zero, governments have never liked being dependent on the middle East, Russia or whoever. Sustainable home produced reliable energy has it's advantages, as demonstrated perfectly by Putin here.

            IMO, of course,having spent my life working in the oil, gas, power and wind turbine markets.

            1. Stork Silver badge

              Re: 'enemies of Russia'

              We are looking at a PV system for our house in the Algarve. It looks like the marginal payback time is about 10 years, even if small producers only get 90% of market rate for feed in.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'enemies of Russia'

          Adding to your final point, Putin does not want a competing player in the European market. Adding to reserves is a nice bonus for Putin, but removing something that can and will undercut the Gazprom and Rosneft monopolies is the real objective - especially as something like 60-70% of Russian income is tied up in that. Russia's other export industries certainly aren't expanding; losing out to competition. Chinese-funded mining activity in Africa is undercutting Russian mining. Western space commercialisation is out-doing Proton and Soyuz. Russian arms are, shall we say, not looking too effective a purchase at the moment either. The "Putin bad" argument is obviously a hopeless oversimplification. His actions however abhorrent, were in the cold, hard analysis absolutely predictable. Putin has bet that the world can't afford to not rely on him and his monopolies. We're not there yet, but the collapse of economies is an expensive price to run sanctions. For time being there seems to be public backing to take the consequences of telling the monopoly to get lost. Ask again in 3 months time when bills have doubled whether sanctions are still going to be a popular policy. (IMO some current Western Govt's risk collapse if prices and inflation explode).

          If someone really wanted less NATO; a better line of approach would have been building on the work of the START treaties; joint demilitarisation etc. It's abundantly clear that was never the objective no matter what state PR pushes.

          Some Gulf States (even notionally friendly ones) reaction to the situation has been very muted - they have as much interest in minimising competition as Russia does for oil.

          There are still diplomatic tools that can be used to pressure Russia further. Our PM, whatever you think of him - has been out in Qatar for obvious reasons.

          While in the short term it is a pain in the ass, this will largely galvanise the Western governments stated objectives to cut down on oil dependencies - and no matter how difficult it is to do - is absolutely the right thing to do. Ironically, this will serve to accelerate the reduction of dependency on Russian oil. It just can't be done overnight, that is all.

          One thing I've not seen discussed, and would be a viable disruptor: Belarus. There's significant opposition to Lukashenko in Belarus that could be fermented into open rebellion. Particularly while the Belarussian army is off elsewhere...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Simplistic

            The USSR fell because it was in the late 1980s no longer able to produce enough food for their peoples. Their economic system was totally out of whack. Apparently the fields produced enough grain, only to rot in the rain because they did not even have sufficient plastic foil to protect the grain.

            Now Russia is the world's largest grain exporter and it looks like they can feed themselves forever.

            Do they need the western toys such as ifones, french cheese and BMWs ? Maybe the 5% caffee-latte elite in Moscow. The other 95% are rather happy with enough meat, milk, cream, potatoes to make borsch and their other traditional dishes. I have eaten their food and I can tell you I could live off it for a long time. Their milk products are top quality.

            So the Ukraine war is probably not caused by simple minded economics. I suspect it is an amalgamation of economics, strategic imperial power (cordon santaire around Moscow) and the "Kiev Rus"

            And sure as h3ll Ukraine can become Russia's Afghanistan 2.0 if they continue their current approach. Time to negotiate peace, I would say.

            1. graeme leggett

              Re: Simplistic

              Largest grain exporters in recent years is USA, Russia is largest wheat exporter.

              If Russia is exporting a lot of wheat, it may be at expense of internal supply. I see Russia has banned grain exports which means another source of income is cut off.

              And "man cannot live on bread alone"

          2. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

            Re: 'enemies of Russia'

            A curious event I was not expecting today

            The Ukraine-EU power grid has been synchronised and is now functional. It turns out that "testing" was successful and it has been made permanent.

            Wonder if Putinski will care about this

  9. Kev99 Silver badge

    Eh-yup. Let's put all of our sensitive, proprietary, confidential, business critical info on that bunch of holes held together with string aka the net. I have no sympathy for them.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022