JAKARTA - Ukraine's Cybersecurity official, Yurii Shchyhol, revealed that Russian spies are using hackers to target computer systems at law enforcement agencies in his country.

They seek to identify and obtain evidence related to Russia's alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Hackers working in a number of Russian intelligence agencies, including those focused on foreign, domestic and military affairs, have stepped up digital intrusion campaigns. They targeted the Office of the Attorney General of Ukraine and the department documenting war crimes.

"There has been a change in direction, from focusing on energy facilities to law enforcement institutions that were not previously targeted so often," said Schchyhol, Head of the Ukrainian Special Communications and Information Protection State Service (SSSCIP), who is responsible for cyber defense in Ukraine.

He added that "this shift, towards courts, prosecutors and law enforcement units, shows that hackers are gathering evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine" with the aim of following a Ukrainian investigation.

This spying activity will be disclosed in the SSSCIP report which will soon be published. The report states that hackers are also trying to gather information about Russian citizens detained in Ukraine with the intention of "helping these individuals avoid prosecution and bring them back to Russia."

Shchyhol stated that the identified groups involved in this activity were part of Russian intelligence agencies, such as GRU and FSB. Currently, Russia has not provided an official response regarding this report.

The number of documented cybersecurity incidents by SSSCIP increased by 123% during the first six months of this year compared to the second half of 2022. Russian hackers have given priority in targeting government agencies and trying to access their email servers.

The hacking act, which Shchyhol disclosed, was part of Russia's efforts to use cyberattacks in conjunction with their military operations. In February 2022, prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Western intelligence agencies had warned of potential cyberattacks that could spread to various places and cause "slides" damage to global computer networks.

Although until now there has been no significant evidence of the impact of the "dump", Russia continues to use cyberattacks as part of their military operations. An attempt by a Russian intelligence hacking group known as "Sandworm" to launch a destructive cyberattack against the Ukraine power grid was thwarted in April 2022.

Shchyhol revealed that his department detected that Russian hackers had accessed private security cameras in Ukraine to monitor the outcome of long-range missile and drone attacks. "We have documented several attempts to access video cameras near the facilities they attack, and systems providing information about the stability of energy networks," he said.

Russia once attacked Ukraine's energy infrastructure with a winter air campaign last year that caused a mass power outage for millions of people. Shchyhol said that energy infrastructure was also a cyberattack target and he expects the attack to happen again this winter.

He stressed that "cyber war will not end even after Ukraine wins on the battlefield."

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