Ukraine sets up group to stop any attempt by Russia to influence elections

A March 2015 file photo of Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov, speaking at a press conference after signing an agreement on security cooperation between the Polish National Security Bureau and National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine in Warsaw. [Jakub Kaminski/EPA/EFE]

Ukraine has set up a group to stop any attempt by Russia to influence next year’s elections, a state security body said on Thursday (18 October).

The National Council for Security and Defence, which is headed by President Petro Poroshenko, established the special group ahead of presidential elections in March and parliamentary elections next October.

Relations between Kyiv and Moscow collapsed following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine that Moscow backed.

“The experience of the United States and Western European countries shows that the Kremlin will try to influence (elections) through the cybernetic and informational space on socio-political processes,” said Olexandr Turchynov, secretary for the Council.

“There are legitimate reasons to assume that the Russian leadership will try at any cost to use the electoral process to implement the plans of hybrid aggression against our state, he said. Moscow denies carrying out cyberattacks.

Ukraine says Russian cyber attacks targeted its main airport

Ukrainian authorities will review the defenses of government computer systems, including at airports and railway stations, after a cyber attack on Kyiv’s main airport was launched from a server in Russia, officials said yesterday (18 January).

Hackers infected three energy and transport companies in Ukraine and Poland with sophisticated new malware and may be planning destructive cyberattacks, said software security firm ESET this week.

The firm helped investigate a series of high-profile cyberattacks on Ukraine in recent years. A report blamed a group that has been accused by Britain of having links to Russian military intelligence.

Investigators at ESET said the group responsible for a series of earlier attacks against the Ukrainian energy sector, which used malicious software known as BlackEnergy, had now developed and used a new malware suite called GreyEnergy.

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