Cyber-police to deter cyber-attacks in Ukraine

The Ukrainian police service has begun hiring officers to fill a new cyber-policing agency in cooperation with the US Department of Justice, according to the country's interior minister.

Ukrainian police (Pic: OSCE/Tetiana Medun)
Ukrainian police (Pic: OSCE/Tetiana Medun)

Ukraine has established a cyber-police unit as part of reforms to the Ukrainian law enforcement system, Arsen Avakov, Ukraine's Interior Minister told SCMagazineUK.com.

It is reported that the newly established agency focuses on the fight against cyber-crime in Ukraine as well as protecting the country's state IT security interests 

To date, the new agency has begun hiring law-enforcement officers, while its official establishment will be completed over the next few weeks.

It is planned that the new agency will be part of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs and will be directly managed by the Minister of Internal Affairs.

The recruitment process is coordinated by consultants of the US Department of Justice, which is responsible for the organisation and conducting of tests, interviews and further training for officers of the Ukrainian cyber-police, as well as experts from ISACA. During the initial stage the new agency will employ 400 people, with the possibility of significant expansion over the next few years.

According to Avakov, the establishment of the cyber-police unit in Ukraine meets an acute need, as the number of cyber-crimes in the country has increased significantly since hostilities broke out in the country in 2013.

An official spokesman for the US IT security company, Lookingglass, told SC that most cyber-attacks on Ukrainian's strategic and military infrastructure is currently conducted by hackers from Russia, mainly due to ongoing hostilities between the two countries.

Establishment of this new cyber-police unit is intended to significantly reduce the number of attacks and help to avoid further large-scale attacks on the Ukraine's critical energy infrastructure. 

The government claims that Russian APTs attacked Prykarpattyaoblenergo, one of Ukraine's largest suppliers of electricity, in December 2015. The attack resulted in massive power outages that affected some Western regions of the country, and in particular the Ivano-Frankivsk and Prykarpattia regions of Ukraine.

According to a report by the US Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, the attacks could have been conducted by Sandworm, a well-known Russian hacker group.

Avakov has also added that cyber-attacks have become an important part of the hybrid warfare being conducted by Russia on Ukraine, which is blamed for infecting hundreds of government computers with spyware.

In addition to Ukraine's largest energy companies, other targets of cyber-attacks included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the presidential administration.