A multifaceted cyber threat landscape: Report reveals widespread targeting of Russia and former Soviet states

A report reveals extensive cyber targeting of Russia and former Soviet states by state actors, hacktivists, and even disgruntled insiders, highlighting a complex and evolving threat landscape.

A recent report by the Russian company, F.A.C.C.T., sheds light on the multifaceted nature of cyber threats targeting Russia and several former Soviet Union members, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. The report, titled “The Most Comprehensive Source of Strategic and Tactical Data on CyberSquaresThreats in Russia and the EAEU,” details a significant rise in cyber campaigns over the past year, with at least 14 state-sponsored hacker groups engaging in either destructive or espionage activities.

These attacks, the report suggests, stem from a confluence of geopolitical tensions and national interests. While some groups, like the IT Army of Ukraine, are demonstrably linked to the ongoing conflict between the two countries, others, such as the China-linked SugarGh0st Team, operate with the backing of their respective governments for reasons extending beyond the immediate regional conflict. This diversity of motivations is further reflected in the variety of targets, which range from government and military institutions to critical infrastructure and commercial enterprises.


The report also highlights the growing influence of hacktivist groups in the region. The IT Army of Ukraine, for instance, has emerged as a prominent force, employing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and collaborating with other local groups to amplify their impact. Another group, the Belarusian Cyber Partisans, has launched targeted attacks against both Belarus and Russia, utilizing tactics such as website defacement and data breaches.

Interestingly, the report identifies a group known as “Comet Twelve” that appears to operate with a dual agenda, combining financial gain through ransom demands with disruptive tactics that aim to cripple victim networks. This group, along with others like “Muppets” and “BlackJack,” demonstrates the increasingly blurred lines between financially motivated cybercrime and politically motivated attacks.

Looking ahead, the report predicts that the current geopolitical climate will continue to fuel cyber activity in the region. Nation-states, both hostile and neutral, are likely to maintain their campaigns, while disgruntled former employees may also pose a threat. The report underscores the need for heightened vigilance and collaborative efforts to counter this evolving threat landscape.