Cybersecurity

Russia initiates cyber attacks on Poland

It is not a secret that for years Kremlin has been organising cyber attacks to influence public opinion and destabilize situation on the eve of unfavorable for Russia events. At the end of April one of such cyber attacks has targeted Polish War Studies University in Warsaw. The website of the University was broken and thereafter used to post a fake letter, allegedly written by the director of this elite establishment, General Ryszard Parafianowicz. The authors of the letter called NATO presence on the territory of Poland an “American occupation”. The letter was picked up by several Polish web sites and The Duran, earlier accused of providing Russian disinformation campaigns. To provoke larger public response, the letter was replicated by chain of Facebook users. The authors of the fake have sent messages to international establishments, NATO and national agencies asking to comment on the matter: intruders used another persons’ email addresses. The next day the university removed the scandal letter from the website.

Russia was not accused officially of disinformation campaign, the investigation continues, the Kremlin denies any involvement in the accident. However, this cyber attack was not the only one Poland has already experienced precisely on the eve of the largest international defensive exercises in association with NATO – the Defender Europe 2020, which involves about 20,000 of soldiers and 13,000 pieces of equipment to participate. The armament and personnel are to be deployed in 10 European countries, including Poland. The exercises take place as a response to strengthening military potential on the foreign borders by Russia and its violation of international agreements.

For instance, in December 2015, Russia has breached a Turkey border with Syria; two years after – Finnish airspace; from 2018 to 2020 Russia has invaded Estonian, Japanese, Irish airspace and Alaskan Air Defence Identification Zone. Moreover, it participates in war in Syria, annexed Crimea plus 7% of Ukrainian territory in 2014 and provides military support to militants in Libya. Now, according to the report of Polish Institute of International Affairs, Russia continues drills in its Western, Southern and Eastern Military Districts, keeps rearming of Kaliningrad Oblast, bordering with Poland and Lithuania, using artillery, radio-electronic units, testing anti-satellite missiles. In addition, it keeps violating air borders over the Baltic Sea and Alaska. In late 2019, Russia announced military exercises Caucasus 2020 – despite the pandemic and in contradiction to Russian complaints over sanctions, weakening its economy, the exercises are still scheduled on September.

NATO presence, particularly in Europe, threats Kremlin’s geopolitical interests. No wonder that shortly before the North Macedonia joined NATO Kremlin financed protests, both, in Greece and North Macedonia, to counter renaming of the country and its Alliance accession. Cyber attack on Polish War Studies University was followed by fabricated interview with US Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli. The article criticized military training of Polish soldiers – traditionally, it was published by The Duran.

Poland experienced a set of different cyber attacks aimed to discredit the country and the Alliance itself, weaken relationship between member states. As many other post-Soviet countries, Poland is an object of Russian ambitions – consequently, it is exposed to various threats. When it is impossible to use armament and meddle in a direct way, Kremlin, again, by violating international law, uses fakes and disinformation.

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