Ukraine at D+463: Cross-border raids continue.
N2K logoJun 2, 2023

Russian missile strikes against Ukrainian cities and intra-Russian fighting around Belgorod continue. Apple denies FSB allegations that it enabled NSA cyberespionage and surveillance.

Ukraine at D+463: Cross-border raids continue.

Russian missile strikes against Ukrainian cities continue, as do cross-border attacks by anti-regime Russian partisans. Two of the partisan groups, the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR), claim to have raided Russian towns in the Belgorod region yesterday.

The UK's Ministry of Defence, in this morning's situation report, described the most recent wave of fighting inside Russia itself. "From the morning of 01 June, partisan groups attacked Russia’s Belgorod region for the second time in ten days. In a complex battlefield situation, what appeared to be uncrewed aerial vehicles also struck Belgorod city (35km inside Russia), while the authorities evacuated civilians from the border town of Shebikino following Ukrainian shelling. The Russia military and interior forces have likely seen quicker success in containing this raid than the previous one. However, according to the Russia MOD’s own press release, it has resorted to deploying the full range of military firepower on its own territory, including attack helicopters, and the TOS-1A heavy thermobaric rocket launcher. Russian commanders now face an acute dilemma of whether to strength defences in Russia’s border regions or reinforce their lines in occupied Ukraine."

Apple calls hogwash on the FSB.

Apple denied working with NSA or any other agency to backdoor its own products in the interest of espionage or surveillance, Reuters reports. In response to FSB charges that Apple had colluded with the US National Security Agency to enable surveillance of Russian iPhone users, Apple said it had "never worked with any government to insert a backdoor into any apple product and never will." TASS reported the FSB's allegations yesterday. "The information obtained by the Russian special services demonstrates close cooperation between Apple and the [US] national intelligence community, in particular the US NSA [National Security Agency], and confirms that Apple’s declared policy of ensuring the privacy of the personal data of users of Apple devices does not correspond to reality.... The company provides US intelligence services with a wide range of opportunities to monitor both anyone of interest to the White House, including their partners in anti-Russian activities, and their own citizens," the FSB said. The perennial difficulties US law enforcement organizations have in getting into Apple devices even with properly executed warrants drives the reader to skepticism with respect to the FSB's claims.

Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky described zero-day exploitation of some of its iPhones (it calls the incident "Operation Triangulation") by an unknown APT using imperfectly understood techniques. Kaspersky doesn't offer any attribution, doesn't allege Apple collusion with the attackers, and says the incident remains under investigation. The researchers say that Operation Triangulation has been in progress since 2019, and that it continues into the present.

NoName057(16) targets Lithuania following the country’s decision to classify Russia’s actions in Ukraine as terrorism. 

Russian cyber auxiliary NoName057(16) has been conducting a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and defacement campaign against Lithuanian websites this week. On Monday the group posted on its Telegram page that they would begin attacks against Lithuanian targets in response to the country’s continued support of Ukraine and the decision to classify Russia as a terrorist state. "The war against Ukraine by the Russian Federation is a genocide of the Ukrainian nation carried out by Russia. The Russian Federation is a country that supports and executes terrorism," the Lithuanian government’s statement reads

NoName claims it has attacked thirty-nine Lithuanian websites since Monday, May 29th. The group this week seems to have focused principally on Lithuania, with a few attacks against Latvia interspersed with its actions against Lithuanian targets. The group’s attacks seem to be randomly dispersed across sectors that include agriculture, financial, and energy. 

The US Department of Defense provides Starlink services to Ukraine.

The US is funding Starlink communications for Ukraine, C4ISRNet reports. Because of the sensitivity of the nature of the services provided, the Department of Defense provided no information on their cost, duration, or coverage. Starlink has over the course of the war provided valuable and resilient connectivity to Ukraine.