The fifth battlefield

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

The Ukrainian side is offering fierce resistance to Putin's war of aggression not only on the physical battlefield, but also in the digital space. The capacities of the Russian army and hacker organisations, which have so far been able to enrich themselves relatively undisturbed in the shadow of the Kremlin, should nevertheless not be underestimated, say cybersecurity experts.

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The Russian army's invasion of Ukraine currently seems to be progressing more slowly than many experts had predicted at the beginning – tanks, they say, lack fuel, troops food and equipment. The waves of coordinated cyber-attacks – the so-called "fifth domain of war" alongside ground, sea, air and space – also seem to be less shocking than feared.

At the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, a two-pronged approach to digital warfare was expected: On the one hand, coordinated cyberattacks on the target's critical infrastructure were expected, which would, for example, render websites inaccessible, cut off parts of the population from the internet and electricity, and block communication channels. At the same time, a wave of propaganda aimed at breaking the morale of defenders was anticipated, sowing doubt among third countries and concealing troop movements. On both flanks, however, the Russian side seems to be stalling.

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