Science

Ukrainian hackers flirt with Russian soldiers online to locate their bases

In Ukraine, hackers create fake profiles of women to lure Russian soldiers on social media in order to obtain information about their plight.

This is called hybrid warfare. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine takes place not only on land, but also online. And all means are good for obtaining information about the enemy. According to an article in the Financial Times (FT) met by Ukrainian hacker Nikita Knysh, the technique his team uses is simple: creating fake social media profiles of women to flirt with Russian soldiers and get their geographic location.

Hackyoumom (“hack your mother” in English) is the name of the operation led by Nikita Knysh and his team of about thirty Ukrainian hackers. Being first in the destroyed city of Kharkov, the brigade had to repatriate to the west of the country. In one example described by the FT, the team identified a Russian base near Melitopol in southern Ukraine, in an area occupied by Russia.

Helps Starlink

Using fake social media profiles of attractive women, they incite Russian soldiers to send them photos of themselves. Some, not very attentive, thus executed themselves. In the photographs sent in, the goal is to recover all the details that might help in their whereabouts. Subsequently, the Russian base in Melitopol was attacked by the Ukrainian army.

Nikita Knysh is a former SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) officer and head of the cybersecurity firm HackControl. To accomplish this mission, he was able to use the Starlink dish, a satellite Internet connection system owned by Elon Musk. The richest man in the world provided Starlink kits to the Ukrainian military to give them free internet access. Then Nikita Knysh asked one of the richest people in Ukraine, Vsevolod Kozhemyako, to provide him with one.

“I didn’t ask him what he was doing with her, but knowing him, it was probably something good,” Vsevolod Kozhemyako told the FT.

The remaining missions were carried out by a group of pirates. They posed as administrators on Telegram channels to broadcast pro-Ukrainian messages, hacked into thousands of security and traffic cameras in Belarus (an ally of Russia). In Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, the team also stepped up bombing threats against flights from Serbia. The hacker also says he has taken control of Russian TV channels to broadcast uncensored information about the war or clips glorifying Ukraine.

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