The government of Ukraine is reportedly asking the hacker community for help defending critical infrastructure and spying on Russian troops, according to Reuters.
As Russia's attack on Ukraine intensifies, the government of Ukraine is asking for volunteers from the country's underground hacker community to help protect critical infrastructure and spy on Russian troops, Reuters reported Thursday.
Requests for volunteers began to appear on hacker forums Thursday morning, Reuters reported. "Ukrainian cybercommunity! It's time to get involved in the cyber defense of our country," one of the posts read, according to Reuters. The request included instructions for hackers and cybersecurity experts on how to submit an application via Google Docs. Volunteers needed to provide professional references and their areas of expertise, such as malware development, according to Reuters.
Yegor Aushev, co-founder of a cybersecurity company in Kyiv and the author of the post, told Reuters a senior Defense Ministry official from Ukraine's government contacted him on Thursday asking for help. According to Reuters, Aushev's company, Cyber Unit Technologies, has worked with the Ukrainian government in the past on projects involving the defense of critical infrastructure.
The Embassy of Ukraine in the US and Cyber Unit Technologies didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The report appeared after Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine. The departments of Treasury and Homeland Security both sounded the alarm over possible cyberattacks on US banks, hospitals, government offices and power grids in retaliation for sanctions against Moscow. On Thursday morning local time, websites for the Ukrainian cabinet and foreign affairs and education ministries were all experiencing disruptions.
The invasion of Ukraine began Thursday around 4:30 a.m. local time, with Russian forces launching attacks from the north in Belarus, from Ukraine's eastern border with Russia and from the south in Crimea. As the attacks continued throughout the day, many Ukrainian residents made preparations to flee their homeland. Countries in central Europe, including Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, prepared to receive an influx of refugees. According to news reports, Russian troops were approaching Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, on Friday.
This is not the first time a government has asked the hacker community for help. In December, the US Department of Homeland Security launched a program offering money to hackers who could help identify cybersecurity vulnerabilities within its systems, according to CNN. In 2013, the US government organized the National Day of Civic Hacking and invited technology experts to use their coding skills to improve communities across the country.