Cyber Warfare with Russia, Justice Department on Cyber Bill, Surgeon General on Misinformation

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claims to have enlisted a private cyber group to disrupt flow of arms from Russia.

Cyber Warfare with Russia, Justice Department on Cyber Bill, Surgeon General on Misinformation
Photo of FBI Director Christopher Wray from October 2017 by the FBI

March 4, 2022 – Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has asked a cyber guerilla warfare group in the country to disrupt Russian critical infrastructure amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The attacks would disrupt railways and electrical grids and diminish the flow of Russian weapons into Ukraine.

The warfare group, led by cybersecurity expert Yegor Aushev, says that it has already targeted dozens of Russian government and banking websites.

Russian hackers are believed to have launched attacks on several Ukrainian government websites in prior weeks.

Since 2017, Russian hacks have targeted Ukrainian banks, newspapers and companies with malware virus that caused billions of dollars in damage.

DOJ officials unimpressed by Senate-passed bipartisan cyber bill

Senior officials at the Department of Justice have voiced concerns over a cybersecurity bill that passed unanimously in the Senate on Tuesday night.

According to The Hill, leaders such as Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray said the bill, which requires critical sector companies to alert the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of potential hacks or ransomware, was flawed in part because it does not significantly require direct reporting to the FBI.

A spokesperson for bill lead co-sponsor Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., pushed back on assertions from Wray that the bill’s current form would actually make the public less safe from cyberattacks, stating that both the FBI and DOJ were consulted in authoring the bill.

Staff for the bill’s other lead co-sponsor, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the FBI and DOJ’s concerns were out of touch with the rest of the country as well as President Joe Biden’s administration who oversees the agencies.

The bill’s passage comes amid government urging that the private sector remain alert to potential Russian cyberattacks as retaliation against U.S. economic sanctions on the country for its invasion of Ukraine.

Surgeon general requests COVID-19 misinformation data from Big Tech

The New York Times reported Thursday that U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is asking Big Tech companies to provide data on COVID-19 misinformation which occurred on their platforms.

Through a formal notice he made the ask of sites spanning social networks, search engines, crowdsourced platforms, e-commerce platforms and instant messaging systems.

Last summer Murthy urged tech and social media platforms to redesign their algorithms to reduce the amplification of misinformation and bolster monitoring of it.

Throughout the pandemic, misinformation was central to debates over masking, vaccinations and public health data such as number of COVID-19 deaths reported by government.

Murthy is now requesting specific information on demographics that are affected by misinformation, sources of the content and metrics on how far it spreads.

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