Amongst the global conflict, a full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine occurs. The battle is not between tanks and soldiers but also with tech. Russia is a global superpower in terms of military, nuclear, etc. Also, they have countless hackers fighting on behalf of the country, attacking critical infrastructure. Ukraine is taking a defensive position to guard its borders. President Volodymyr Zelensky is tackling global affairs when is his friend digital minister Mykhalio Fedorov is gathering forces underground to fight a digital battle.
The 31-year-old cabinet minister in charge of Ukraine’s Digital Transformation urges hackers worldwide to fight alongside Ukraine. Fedorov took on a mission to empower “state in a smartphone.” While it was going great, the unfortunate events took concentration elsewhere. The youngest minister of Ukraine is fighting a digital battle from an underground shelter location and calling for hackers worldwide. More on this later.
The minister is sending letters to multinational companies and tech giants to suspend business in Russia. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, YouTube, Google, Oracle, etc. Many responded as they believe in democratic power, and a war is not something we want in the world today. Hundreds of large companies alongside small ones are fighting a battle against Russia by turning off the lights on the Russian side of the map.
As the country opens up new tactics to fight against Russia by bringing in troops and arsenal, a new form of fighting occurs. Fedorov calls the hackers “IT army” who are fighting side by side with Ukraine against Russia. In the age of digitalization, IT or technology has severe consequences if gone against it. The cyberattacks from Russia to Ukraine and global cyberattacks against Russia are going forth and back. A recent announcement made on an Anonymous Facebook post said they took down the Russian Secret Service website alongside thousand others.
In the earlier stages of the tech fight, we’ve seen the Ukrainian President urging to lift the SWIFT system, the backbone of international banking, from Russia. It was executed fairly quick, holding all transactions with Russia via bank. Other digital financing services customer services are closing down. The online world, where many people work from home, belongs to the Russian Federation. We’ve seen those marketplaces banning Russian independent contractors with a deadline. They are posing severe threats to the Russian economy.
Russia is the biggest supplier of oil and gas to Europe, where critical events are triggering one after another. Another post shared by Anonymous directly mentioned citizens of Russia that they might not know what’s going on around them and what is their role to stop the madness. They said, “Putin’s aggressive actions in #Ukraine have sparked outrage around the world, which is why the sanctions on the country have been tightened.”
Continuous posts are being made from Fedorov’s socials, and on Saturday, the minister declared “IT army” to fight against Russia’s digital intrusions. PayPal and Nvidia also announced their sanctions against Russia and closed all businesses. The mistier mentioned Starlink, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a Tweet and called out for help with his company satellites. Elon Musk wasn’t a late responder and said, “Starlink services is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.” The minister is handling a Telegram group with over 270,000 members supporting the resolution and other social channels.
The Telegram group has listed over 31 Russian business and state websites, including Russia’s second-largest oil producer Lukoil, three banks, energy giant Gazprom, etc. A recent callout was made by the minister to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to stop providing AWS services to Russia, and the response was positive. Even though Russia is a large client of AWS, they do not have physical data centres, infrastructures or offices there. So, it did not take long to support the cause and follow sanctions.
The digital minister continuously calls out digital talents and provides tasks in a battle against Russia.