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Russian cyberattacks pose a global “threat”, Google warns

Like a fantastic monster attack ready to sweep over the computer world.

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Russian cyberattacks pose a global “threat”, Google warns

Like a fantastic monster attack ready to sweep over the computer world. Sandworm, a group of hackers active in Ukraine and linked to Russian intelligence services, is poised to become a significant global threat, Mandiant, a Google subsidiary, warned on Wednesday (April 17).

This important cybersecurity company has spotted malicious operations carried out by this group which takes the name of the creature imagined by Frank Herbert in his Dune saga. Hackers target locations around the world considered political, military or economic hotspots for Russian interests. “We observed the group carrying out espionage operations in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Latin America,” Mandiant researchers said in their report. With a record number of people participating in national elections in 2024, Sandworm's track record of attempting to interfere in democratic processes further increases the severity of the threat the group may pose in the near term.”

Five years ago, a dozen Russian military intelligence officers were indicted in the United States on charges stemming from their alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election that put Donald Trump in the White House, according to the FBI. The Republican billionaire is running for president again, after losing his reelection bid in 2020.

Sandworm has repeatedly targeted Western electoral institutions, including those of current and future NATO member countries, according to Mandiant's report. The group “attempted to interfere with democratic processes in certain countries by disclosing politically sensitive information and deploying malware to access electoral systems and distort election data,” Mandiant detailed.

The Russian army regularly uses this group in its war against Ukraine, according to researchers. They assure that Sandworm “is actively engaged in the full range of espionage, attack and influence operations.” In 2022, Ukraine announced that it had foiled a Russian cyberattack carried out by Sandworm, targeting one of its largest energy installations.

“We assess with great confidence that (Sandworm) is seen by the Kremlin as an agile instrument of power, capable of serving Russia's national interests and ambitions, including efforts to undermine democratic processes around the world », conclude the researchers. The group's activities, such as attempts to influence elections or retaliation against international sports bodies in athlete doping controversies, suggest "there is no limit to the nationalist impulses" that can animate Sandworm's program, according to the report.

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