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Anonymous: the hacker collective that has declared cyberwar on Russia | Ukraine

Cyber conflicts are fought in the shadows, but in the case of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is a group that calls itself Anonymous that has made the most public declaration of war. Late on Thursday the hacker collective tweeted from an account linked to Anonymous, @YourAnonOne, that it had Vladimir Putin’s regime in its sights.

In the days since, the group has claimed credit for several cyber incidents including distributed denial of service attacks – where a site is rendered unreachable by being bombarded with traffic – that have brought down government websites and that of Russia Today, the state-backed news service. The DDoS attacks still appeared to be working on Sunday afternoon, with the official sites for the Kremlin and Ministry of Defence still inaccessible.

Anonymous also said it had hacked the Ministry of Defence database, while on Sunday it was claimed the group had hacked Russian state TV channels, posting pro-Ukraine content including patriotic songs and images from the invasion.

The group’s nature as an informal collective makes it difficult to attribute these attacks to Anonymous definitively. Jamie Collier, a consultant at US cybersecurity firm Mandiant, said: “It can be difficult to directly tie this activity to Anonymous, as targeted entities will likely be reluctant to publish related technical data. However, the Anonymous collective has a track record of conducting this sort of activity and it is very much in line with their capabilities.”

Its targets in the past have included the CIA, the Church of Scientology and Islamic State, and although the collective was left reeling by a number of arrests in the US in the early 2010s, it revived activity after the murder of George Floyd. One former Anonymous member has described its guiding principle as “anti-oppression”.

Russia Today openly attributed the problems with its website to Anonymous, and claimed the attacks came from the US after the group had published its “declaration of war”. A spokesperson for the channel said: “After the statement by Anonymous, RT’s websites became the subject of massive DDoS attacks from some 100 million devices, mostly based in the US.”

By contrast, cyber activity against Ukraine has been muted so far, despite widespread predictions that a Russian military assault on the country would be combined with digital shock and awe. Ukrainian websites were hit with DDoS attacks ahead of the offensive, including the Ukrainian defence ministry and PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest commercial bank, but there has been nothing on the scale of the NotPetya assault in 2017 – when a devastating malware attack attributed to Russia destroyed computers in Ukraine and around the world. Cloudflare, a US tech firm that protects companies against DDoS attacks, described the initial denial of service sorties last week as “relatively modest”. The UK and US governments have already blamed an earlier set of DDoS attacks against Ukrainian websites, on 15 and 16 February, on Moscow.

As with the attacks claimed by Anonymous, DDoS salvos are designed to sow confusion and damage morale, whereas malware can cause serious and irreparable damage. NotPetya, a so-called wiper virus that was inserted into tax accounting software used by Ukrainian firms but spilled into other countries, caused $10bn (£7.5bn) of damage worldwide by encrypting computers permanently.

Last week Ukraine was hit by an attempted wiper attack, via a new strain of malware dubbed HermeticWiper that prevented computers from rebooting. However, the scale of the attack left only several hundred machines affected and its geographic reach beyond Ukraine has been limited to Latvia and Lithuania.

There have been cyber skirmishes elsewhere in the conflict. Partial restrictions have been imposed on Facebook by the Russian government after officials accused the social network of censoring state-backed media on the platform, prompting Facebook to ban ads from Russian state media. Google’s YouTube platform has also banned state media adverts. Another US tech titan, Elon Musk, is providing satellite internet access to Ukraine via his Starlink satellites, while the Ukrainian government is openly seeking international donations in cryptocurrency and has reportedly received millions of dollars in response.

Nonetheless, the cyber dimension to the Ukraine conflict has been low-key up to this point. Ciaran Martin, professor of practice at the Blavatnik school of government at Oxford University and former head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, says cyber has played “remarkably little part” in the conflict, at least so far.

“The cyber activity from Russia against Ukraine has been there, but is consistent with Russia’s cyber harassment of the country going back years. Similarly, from what we can see, the response against Russia from the west has not had a strong cyber component so far – it has been about stringent sanctions. All of this might change, and the west is right to remain on high alert for increased cyber activity.”



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Majority of Businesses (82%) Set to Boost R&D Funding in the Next Three Years

Businesses And R&D Funding

More than 78% of R&D professionals believe that an enhanced 50% R&D tax credit will incentivise green tech development

A recent report by the Industry Research and Development Group (IRDG) and KPMG sheds light on the state of Research and Development (R&D), highlighting the urgent need for increased funding to keep pace with other leading innovation-driven nations. Titled ‘Ireland’s Innovation Index,’ the report presents insights gathered from a survey of 394 respondents representing various sectors, including engineering, technology, medical, and software.

Growing Ambitions for R&D Investment

The findings of the report reveal that a significant majority (80%) of respondents plan to boost their R&D expenditure in the next three years, while 67% have already increased their R&D budgets over the past three years. Encouragingly, only a mere 4% anticipate a decrease in future R&D spending. This heightened commitment to R&D investment underscores its critical role in driving economic growth and competitiveness.

R&D Landscape

Ireland has demonstrated commendable performance in the realm of R&D, with a substantial proportion (69%) of multinational companies considering Irish R&D grants and tax supports on par with or even superior to those offered by other countries. Only 31% expressed a less favorable opinion. Moreover, 64% of the survey respondents have taken advantage of the Research and Development Tax Credit (RDTC), while 53% have availed themselves of semi-state grant supports. These figures indicate the value that companies place on government incentives to support their innovation endeavors.

The Need for Increased Funding

Despite the positive strides made, the report highlights the pressing need for Ireland to bolster its R&D funding to match the levels seen in leading innovation-driven nations. According to the IRDG, an additional €2 billion in funding is required to bridge this gap effectively.

Embracing Sustainability and Digitalization

The report also emphasizes the potential of enhanced R&D funding in promoting green tech development. An overwhelming 78% of R&D professionals believe that an improved 50% R&D tax credit would serve as a powerful incentive to drive innovation in sustainable technologies. This highlights the need to align R&D investment with the challenges of sustainability and digitalization, ensuring continued economic prosperity and positioning Ireland as a global leader in these areas.

The Importance of Support for SMEs and FDI

Dermot Casey, CEO at IRDG, underscores the significance of increased investment in innovation, particularly in supporting innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to create the next generation of Irish success stories, akin to industry leaders like Kingspan and Fexco. Additionally, such investment is crucial to bolster the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) sector. Businesses are poised to invest, but they require robust support to overcome challenges related to accessing skills, talent, and administrative burdens.

Competition in the Global Landscape

Ken Hardy, head of KPMG’s R&D incentives practice, draws attention to the intense competition among European jurisdictions, including neighboring countries like the UK, which are actively vying to attract R&D activities. In light of this landscape, Ireland must fortify its support systems and allocate a more substantial budget to maintain its competitiveness. Hardy commends the positive sentiment among over two-thirds of Irish RD&I professionals who view Ireland’s support systems as comparable to those of other countries.

Charting the Path Forward

The report underscores the urgent need for Ireland to bolster its investment in R&D, both to stimulate innovation and to address the challenges presented by sustainability and digitalization.

By increasing funding and providing comprehensive support to innovative companies, Ireland can seize opportunities for economic growth and maintain its position as a global hub for research and development. The collective efforts of industry, government, and academia will be instrumental in driving Ireland’s innovation agenda and securing a prosperous future.


We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Team VoiceOfEU.com

— For More Info. & News Submissions: info@VoiceOfEU.com

— For Anonymous News Submissions: press@VoiceOfEU.com


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Ways Small & Medium-Sized Businesses Can Hire Big Tech Talent

In response to mounting financial concerns, tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have recently implemented significant staff cuts. This has prompted industry leaders to reevaluate their hiring practices, recognizing the limitations of Big Tech’s ability to weather challenging economic times.

While the tech industry’s overall stability is assured, the combination of a declining economy and a previous surge in hiring has resulted in substantial job losses. However, this situation also presents an opportunity for small businesses and start-ups to tap into a pool of available tech experts.

To capitalize on this unique scenario, small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners must act swiftly to gain a competitive advantage over larger companies and attract highly skilled candidates.

In this article, John Elf, Technology Contributor at ‘Voice of EU’ and Head of Marketing at Vibertron Technologies, provides insights into some simple but effective strategies for attracting talent in a candidate-heavy market.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can leverage consulting services to attract the best talent, just like big tech companies do. Here’s how SMBs can make use of consulting services to enhance their talent acquisition efforts:

1. Talent Acquisition Strategy Development: SMBs can engage consulting firms specializing in talent acquisition and HR strategies to help them develop a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy. These consultants can assess the organization’s needs, identify talent gaps, and devise effective recruitment and sourcing strategies tailored to the SMB’s specific industry and requirements. This strategic approach ensures that the SMB is targeting the right candidates and maximizing its resources.

2. Employer Branding and Positioning: Consulting firms experienced in employer branding can assist SMBs in developing a strong employer brand that resonates with their target talent pool. They can help SMBs articulate their unique value proposition, culture, and growth opportunities, ensuring that the organization stands out as an attractive employer. These consultants can also provide guidance on how to effectively communicate the employer brand across various channels to attract the best talent.

3. Recruitment Process Optimization: Recruitment service provider can help SMBs, same as LCEs, optimize their recruitment processes, making them more efficient and effective. Consultants can review and streamline the entire hiring process, from job postings and candidate screening to interview techniques and selection methodologies. By improving the candidate experience and ensuring a smooth and timely process, SMBs can enhance their reputation as an employer of choice.

4. Candidate Sourcing and Evaluation: Consulting firms specializing in talent acquisition can assist SMBs in sourcing and evaluating candidates. They can leverage their networks and resources to identify top talent and conduct thorough assessments, including skill evaluations, cultural fit analysis, and background checks. By leveraging external expertise, SMBs can access a broader candidate pool and make well-informed hiring decisions.

5. Compensation and Benefits Consulting: Attracting and retaining top talent often requires competitive compensation and benefits packages. SMBs can engage consulting firms that specialize in compensation and benefits to ensure their offerings align with industry standards and meet the expectations of high-caliber candidates. These consultants can provide insights into market trends, salary benchmarks, and innovative benefit options, enabling SMBs to remain competitive in talent acquisition.

6. Training and Development Programs: SMBs can leverage consulting services to design and implement training and development programs. These programs not only help attract talent but also contribute to employee retention and growth.

Consultants can identify skill gaps, design customized training modules, and provide guidance on employee development initiatives, ensuring that SMBs create a culture of continuous learning and professional advancement.

By utilizing consulting services in talent acquisition, SMBs can access specialized expertise, best practices, and industry insights that are typically associated with larger companies. This approach enables SMBs to compete for top talent on a more level playing field, enhancing their ability to attract and retain the best candidates.


By John Elf

John Elf is Head of Marketing at Vibertron Technologies, and an Honorary Contributor at ‘Voice of EU’. A version of this article has already been published.


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Congratulations, Privacy Just Took A Great Leap Out the Window!

Your Data Is Being Used Without Your Permission And Knowledge

The Voice Of EU | In the heart of technological innovation, the collision between intellectual property rights and the development of cutting-edge AI technologies has sparked a significant legal battle. The New York Times has taken legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. This legal maneuver aims to address concerns surrounding the unauthorized use of the Times’ content for the training of AI models, alleging copyright infringements that could potentially result in billions of dollars in damages.

READ: HOW YOUR DATA IS BEING USED TO TRAIN A.I.

This legal tussle underlines the escalating tension between technological advancements and the protection of intellectual property. The crux of the lawsuit revolves around OpenAI and Microsoft allegedly utilizing the Times’ proprietary content to advance their own AI technology, directly competing with the publication’s services. The lawsuit suggests that this unauthorized utilization threatens the Times’ ability to offer its distinctive service and impacts its AI innovation, creating a competitive landscape that challenges the publication’s proprietary content.

Amidst the growing digital landscape, media organizations like the Times are confronting a myriad of challenges. The migration of readers to online platforms has significantly impacted traditional media, and the advent of artificial intelligence technology has added another layer of complexity. The legal dispute brings to the forefront the contentious practice of AI companies scraping copyrighted information from online sources, including articles from media organizations, to train their generative AI chatbots. This strategy has attracted substantial investments, rapidly transforming the AI landscape.

Exhibit presented by the New York Times’ legal team of ChatGPT replicating a article after being prompted

The lawsuit highlights instances where OpenAI’s technology, specifically GPT-4, replicated significant portions of Times articles, including in-depth investigative reports. These outputs, alleged by the Times to contain verbatim excerpts from their content, raise concerns about the ethical and legal boundaries of using copyrighted material for AI model training without proper authorization or compensation.

The legal action taken by the Times follows attempts to engage in discussions with Microsoft and OpenAI, aiming to address concerns about the use of its intellectual property. Despite these efforts, negotiations failed to reach a resolution that would ensure fair compensation for the use of the Times’ content while promoting responsible AI development that benefits society.

In the midst of this legal battle, the broader questions surrounding the responsible and ethical utilization of copyrighted material in advancing technological innovations come to the forefront.

The dispute between the Times, OpenAI, and Microsoft serves as a significant case study in navigating the intricate intersection of technological progress and safeguarding intellectual property rights in the digital age.


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