Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said the online world should be considered a “frontline” in Ukraine due to Russia’s increasing cyber operations.
Speaking at the Tallinn Digital Summit 2023, the leader called for global support for Kyiv as it continues to fight not just Moscow’s troops but its sophisticated cyberattacks.
She referenced Russia’s online attacks before the invasion began, as well as its illegal targeting of Ukrainian data centers and communication infrastructure.
In January 2022, Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko announced that several suspected Russian hackers knocked out government websites, including those of the ministry of foreign affairs and education.
In her speech, Kallas noted the importance of working collectively to mitigate the cyber threats posed by President Vladimir Putin.
“Cyberspace is not a sideshow, but a frontline in Ukraine,” she stressed. “Democracies can use technology to win every time, but there is a crucial fourth ingredient, and that is collaboration.”
Estonia Leading the Way
In April last year, Meta revealed that several groups of hackers linked to Russia and Belarus had successfully broken into the Facebook accounts of Ukrainian military officials.
The hackers reportedly pretended to be journalists to run coordinated campaigns to remove social media posts opposing the Russian government.
Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom also reported an unprecedented cyberattack on its website, saying the attack originated from Russian territory.
Due to Moscow’s increasing cyber activities against Kyiv, Estonia built a new military cyber facility to bolster the war-torn nation’s defenses against online threats.
The facility would reportedly improve the digital skills of Ukrainian military personnel and help make the country “cyber-resilient.”
The UK followed suit, announcing 25 million pounds ($32 million) of additional funding to expand Ukraine’s cyber defense against Russia.
“This funding is critical to stopping those onslaughts, hardening Ukraine’s cyber defenses, and increasing the country’s ability to detect and disable the malware targeted at them,” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.