Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met again, without much progress, but certain corridors are said to remain open for the use of refugees. Russia seems determined to push through and persevere until it succeeds in disarming and neutralizing—and probably partitioning—Ukraine. President Zelenskyy offers to meet President Putin (and offers Mr. Putin a mildly insulting reassurance: "I don't bite). Belarusian President Lukashenka said today that his forces aren't participating in Russia's war, and that he won't be sending them into combat.
ICANN will not block Russia's access to the Internet.
CNN reports that ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has told the Ukrainian government that shutting down Russia's access to the Internet is beyond its power, both technically and as a matter of policy. "As you know, the Internet is a decentralized system. No one actor has the ability to control it or shut it down," ICANN CEO Göran Marby wrote authorities in Kyiv, adding that "our mission does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions, or restricting access against segments of the Internet -- regardless of the provocations."
The propaganda phases of a hybrid war. (Or, when you've lost Switzerland, you've lost the world.)
MIT Technology Review sees the propaganda war as having eclipsed the cyber war. Who's winning this phase?
Military Times gives a clear edge to Ukraine, whose messaging has held far more appeal than Russia's. The messages (true, dubious, or debunked) are "feel-good" stories that tell about good versus evil, and their effect has been augmented by President Zelenskyy's easy facility with the sound-bite and the one-liner. Russian propaganda has had much less success, in part because of the lies' lack of their usual bodyguard of truth. Moscow has had little success in convincing the world that President Zelenskyy's government represents a cabal of unreconstructed Nazis, and clumsy attempts to blame Russian misconduct on Ukraine have fallen flat. After extensive Russian bombardment of Kharkiv, for example, the Telegraph reports that NTV explained, "In expert opinion it was the [Ukrainian] military who attacked the Kharkiv administration building with a Smerch multiple rocket launcher or an Olkha, its modern [Ukrainian] modification." This kind of story isn't flying, internationally at least.
Domestically, the Russian government is increasing its control over information. A new law imposes penalties of up to fifteen years for intentionally disseminating "fake" news about the Russian military, Reuters reports. Moscow has also blocked online access to the BBC and the Voice of America.
Hacktivists and cyber militias continue to score at a nuisance level.
Distributed denial-of-service attacks and doxing seem to have been the preferred modes of attack by both sides in the war, Check Point suggests. DDoS is easier to confirm than are claims of breaches, and hacktivists in particular have been prone to exaggerate the effects they've achieved. But it's undeniable that there have been nuisance-level successes.
Chris Formant, CEO of Avocado Systems, sees hacktivist success against what ought to be relatively well-defended networks as a mark of the difficulty of protecting any large attack surface. “Anonymous showed again, with the Russian Ministry of Defense, how rapidly sensitive data could be extracted from what was thought to be a highly secure environment," he wrote in an email. "Multi-tier environments, by their very nature, have points of exposure as information is moving laterally. The only known effective solution is to reduce the attack vector to the smallest possible threat surface area and apply deterministic zero trust in runtime. Essentially, catching the criminal in the act.”
The CyberWire's continuing coverage of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine may be found here.