Crowdsourced Efforts Get Leveraged in Ukraine Conflict

The battle is not just being waged in the physical world — it’s also happening online. And average people are taking part, not just governments.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was bound to take place in part in cyberspace. While the use of Russian offensive security operations against the West has long been alleged, the rise of crowdsourced security efforts in the current war has taken an interesting turn.

First, there were the accusations of Russia utilizing the Premise microtask platform to identify everything from bomb craters to targets of opportunity. This was backed up by Ukrainian military forces in a Facebook post, which eventually led to a curt rebuttal from the CEO of Premise, who denied the claims. Subsequently, the company turned off Premise in Ukraine.

On the Ukrainian side of the conflict, Anonymous launched #OperationRussia to target government assets owned and operated by the Russian government, Chechnya, and Belarus. While Anonymous is a wild card when it comes to political causes, its Twitter feed was ripe with targets, and a string of successes has emerged since the group launched the operation in late February. Many dozens of .ru websites, Kremlin websites, and government-backed companies were all fair game. Even the Russian stock exchange was out of action, serving a “I’m a teapot” HTTP 418 error for the first few weeks of the conflict before being sinkholed completely.

Creation of a “Cyber Army”
Then there are official bug bounty platforms. was launched in 2017 and is based in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. It specializes in bug bounties and vulnerability disclosure programs around blockchain products. While I don’t think much of cryptocurrencies, I did have a go at some of its bug bounties back in the day, and it resembles any other bug bounty platform used by common crowdsourced security platforms (think Bugcrowd, HackerOne, etc.). Read more:

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