back to article Data-wiper malware strains surge as Ukraine battles ongoing invasion

Security researchers have detailed six significant strains of data-wiping malware that have emerged in just the first quarter of 2022, a huge surge over previous years. This increase coincides with the invasion of Ukraine, and all of these wipers have been used against that state's infrastructure and organizations. One of the …

  1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Coat

    Look, say whatever you want about the Russians but let me point out something: These malwares and wipers are ten times more effective than the weapon systems currently "falling" into the hands of western intelligence.

    Let me offer some explanation: Like any countries, Russia is one of the biggest weapons exporters. And, like any other country, there are two "types": The "export" version and the "local" version. Western intelligence have ample information about the "export" versions. The "local" versions, however, opens up a whole world of dimension and the weapons systems currently being used are all "local" versions.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Interesting argument, but I'm pretty sure that the countries buying F-35s are getting the same version that the US military is getting.

      When France sells an Exocet to another country, it is selling the same version it has.

      Arms dealers cannot sell if it becomes known that they degrade their export versions, their reputation would be trashed.

      As far as software is concerned, Lotus Notes once had a degraded version specifically for France because the French government wanted to be sure that it wouldn't have too much trouble with a 128-bit encryption key, so (IIRC) it had it degraded to a 56-bit key (or something along those lines). That is now consigned to the dustbins of History, and every Notes customer has a full-fleged 256-bit AES encryption key for the ID file.

      So, I don't think that there are that many "local" vs "export" versions any more.

      What there might be is countries not selling a particular bit of kit (for National Security reasons, obviously).

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Actually, I have read that Russia exports only reduced-capability versions of its tanks and so on.

        America refuses to provide lower-cost tanks, aircraft, etc, so less-wealthy countries have little choice but to buy from Russia. Putting India, for example, in its current invidious position of not daring to say/do anything re Russia's invasion for fear of being weakened vs China.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          The US supplied the F5 tiger as a cheap fighter, but most interested clients wanted the F16 over the F5.

          The F104 was fairly terrible by most measures, and was widely exported.

          Thailand operates US made light tanks in lieu of the Abrams, probably better suited to the terrain.

          So the US most assuredly offers a range of parts of various grades and capabilities. Caveat Emptor.

          Some US export hardware is damnned useful. Others are to be avoided. And sometimes Boeing will screw you over with a terrible service contract (see the MOD Chinook debacle). Good helo spoiled by dumb T&Cs

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Sorry, I left implicit the overriding consideration for any military purchase:

            "America refuses to provide useful lower-cost tanks, aircraft, etc"

            Setting aside occasional exceptions:

            America externally provides only cutting-edge, or crap. As your own examples illustrate.

            At any given price-point below excruciating, Russian kit dominates USA kit. Result: widespread global dependence on Russia for military security. Result: political influence.

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Coat

        Check the Lockheed Martin stock price to monitor the effects of the F-35 sales, a war is always quite profitable for the corporations that manufacture the weapons.

        You can also look at the history of the world, go back about 4,000 years and see the ancient city ruins with large amounts of obsidian blades in the area, all bought in from afar. As monkeys we have not evolved that much, we're just better at killing other monkeys these days.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      About 10 days ago the mail server was set to reject all email and login attempts from *.ru domains and the infection attachment deliveries (e.g. NewQuoteRequest.PDF.exe) stopped for about a week but they have now started back again. The new deliveries are configured to appear from mail servers around the world ... this just suggests that the mail server accounts have been hacked, not that the country is attacking us.

  2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Malware -> Malwar

    I hereby coin a neologism for this malware-as-war-weapon tactic:

    "Malwar"

  3. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Further background information:

    > Gergely

    "Draynz", to his mates.

  4. DS999 Silver badge

    What surprises me

    Is how unaffected Ukraine has been against what is presumably an all-out cyber assault by Russia. The internet, phones and power systems appear to pretty much work except where Russia has destroyed the physical infrastructure - and they haven't done much of that outside of the regions in the east and southeast where they are bombing entire cities to rubble.

    People in Ukraine are able to talk on the phone without much difficulty, keep their phones charged, etc. - things are working well enough you constantly see live interviews with reporters and Ukrainian officials often conducted over the cellular networks. I'm sure there are some problems but they have been able to get things working again.

    My personal theory is that the constant background noise of Russian cyber assaults from 2014 on forced Ukraine to replaced outdated insecure equipment and keep current on fixes as a matter of course, leaving them much less vulnerable than they'd be had Russia left them alone and saved up all their attacks for the start of the war. They may have started the war less vulnerable to hackers than any other country in the world, because they'd been forced to fix security issues in their infrastructure we are still mostly ignoring.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not terribly surprising given that Russia's existential crisis is based on its major export industry that it's trying to protect from Competition.

    With stories (in less than reputable sources) that officers are having to shoot their own troops to motivate the rest; the Army may well turn around and tell the Kremlin where to go.

    After all they have done it before. See 1989-1991 when they didn't particularly stand in the way of the downfall.

    I'm only surprised that cyber attacks haven't had that much of an effect. Prelude to a storm perhaps? Or go out with a whimper.

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