Cyber attack by Russia

Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

Translation by author

Source: La Voix du Nord

On 24 February immediately after a speech by Putin explaining his offensive against Ukraine, the internet was cut for tens of thousands of French users of Nordnet in the north of France. Cyber experts explained that the Russians attacked a satellite, ViaSat, that supplies internet to users in Ukraine.Unfortunately this satellite also supplies customers in northern France.  So this is an example of the collateral damage of this war. 

Are there more cyberattacks from Russia ?

“Cyberwar is increasing with attacks on major internet companies that require extra vigilance.” One expert told La Voix du Nord (the local newspaper of northern France)

“We find pirates who were doing business together a few weeks ago and who today are beating each other up. The danger for France will depend on the words of our policies and the actions of NATO, ”said Damien Bancal.

It is not clear from this quotation who are the “pirates” referred to and where they are located.  Nor what business they were doing together. For some years now, articles about influence in social media have pointed out that there are numerous bots sending out messages for the internet that originate in Russia, from St. Petersburg specifically. It is unclear if M. Bancal is hinting that these social media posts, hitherto all backing the Kremlin line, are now putting  out divergent views. This would indeed be an interesting insight suggestive of divergent Russian opinions on the war.

Alternatively, it could be referring to malware, or to satellite interference that harm networks in the rest of Europe, including France,and potentially the UK.

However, the next sentence  from the La Voix du Nord rather suggests that Russian bots were being activated in protest against the detention of a Russian boat.

Russian boat stopped in Channel and then cyber-threats to France

“Especially since France has already gone through a first round of attacks” ( LVdN comment). 

“When French customs stopped a Russian boat in the port of Boulogne, I saw a whole bunch of messages from pirates who wanted to attack France because they thought that Russian boats were no longer allowed through. We are not immune to an attack because they misunderstood a press article,” reports the co-founder of Zataz.