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Russian Intelligence-Linked Hacking Group Targets Armenian State Agencies, Expert Reports

Russian Intelligence-Linked Hacking Group Targets Armenian State Agencies, Expert Reports

An alarming report surfaced during a press conference on Tuesday as Armenian information security expert Samvel Martirosyan disclosed that a Russian intelligence hacker group, identified as Fancy Bear, launched cyber-attacks targeting government institutions in Armenia during the summer.

Martirosyan unveiled that the cyber-offensive, attributed to Russia's primary intelligence agency, targeted not only Armenia but also governmental bodies in Ukraine and Tajikistan in coordinated hacking attempts earlier this year.

Speaking about the persistent threat, Martirosyan emphasized the recurrent nature of attacks by the said hacking group on Armenian state agencies over the last decade, citing a report by an international organization that validated these breaches.

Highlighting the gravity of cyber threats, the expert detailed previous hacking attempts detected on Armenian and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) state agencies before Azerbaijan's military actions. Although these incursions were detected, their success seemed limited.

Amid concerns, Martirosyan expressed apprehension about Armenia's cybersecurity readiness, particularly in understanding the nature of cybersecurity challenges. He urged clarity on the implementation of a cyber environment envisioned by a recently proposed law, stressing the need for practicality and coherence in its application across all state institutions.

The expert stressed the significance of an integrated system that aligns with the National Security Service (NSS) and military operations, emphasizing the necessity for cohesive functioning during military operations, where the collaboration of various state institutions becomes crucial.

Commenting on legislative matters, Martirosyan highlighted concerns regarding the synergy between civil bodies and the military, especially during martial law situations, where the interoperability between cybersecurity agencies and the army becomes paramount.

Martirosyan further highlighted Azerbaijan's evolution in cyber warfare tactics since the brief April 2016 war, outlining collaborations with countries possessing significant cyber capabilities. Notably, he highlighted increased cooperation with Turkey and Israel, signifying potential threats beyond conventional military realms.

The revelations from Martirosyan point to a critical need for fortified cybersecurity measures in Armenia, especially as the country faces evolving cyber threats from various state actors, emphasizing the urgency for a comprehensive and coordinated defense strategy to safeguard its digital infrastructure and national security.


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