It’s past four in the afternoon and Mykhailo Fedorov She wears a short-sleeved t-shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers to match a prominent treadmill in her office. He has a majestic stature, already graying hair despite being 31 years old, and, as the translator noticed, when speaking Ukrainian, there is a hint of accent that reminds him that he was born in Vasylivka, in the Russian-speaking southeast. FEdorov, the youngest of the Ukrainian ministers, the country’s deputy prime minister, close to President Volodymyr Zelensky, serious and cautious in his answers. The Minister of Digital Transformation, i.e. the man behind the Ukrainian strategy of what he has called the first world cyber war in many interviews, an internet conflict, even so, like the traditional one, pits Russia and Ukraine against each other. . . .
Minister, what is the Internet army and what tactics does it use in its attacks on Russia?
Since the first day of the war, we have brought together about 300,000 cyber professionals from all over the world to fight and counter attacks against Russia in the field of online cybersecurity.
What kind of attacks are these? DOS* attacks or other types of attacks?
In the case of public operations this is more DOS*, but there can also be attacks on information systems, specific sites and more sophisticated attacks.
(*A denial of service (DoS) attack is a malicious attempt to overload a web property with traffic to disrupt its normal operation.)
On the other hand, how was the Ukrainian Internet service able to resist attacks from Russia?
We documented hundreds of monthly attacks during these two and a half years, but we also built a system that can counter these attacks. The best proof of this is that we offer new services weekly for government and citizens. An example is the Diia mobile application, one of the most downloaded by the Ukrainian population, which allows access to data contained in the country’s public records (from passport to health card), and now even the minister plans to use it. claims for damages resulting from the conflict.–
Is he also talking about Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites? How do you use them?
A stable Internet connection is an essential part of counterattack activities. We restored broadband internet and Wi-Fi. In addition, our infrastructure is protected thanks to the satellite connection (which provides internet access via Musk’s SpaceX satellites). And we always have a backup connection to keep the country connected.
Are you using them for the Army too?
Of course, where there isn’t a good connection, the military uses it to communicate with their families, and we have photographic evidence on social media, but the main purpose is to support our infrastructures.
How does Ukraine use cryptocurrencies? Are they really useful?
Yes, we started the first crypto foundation to help the military and the country. We’ve raised more than $60 million to support the armed forces, the healthcare system, institutions and citizens. Virtual assets are actively used.
Do you expect this cyber war to get worse?
This is a good question. I think it will get worse in the number of attacks but not in losses or problems. This is why we must continue to invest in building and supporting the cybersecurity system.
So, do you confirm that you are at the head of the Ukrainian Internet army?
It is a self-contained volunteer association that only needs to be coordinated, so the structure is not vertical. Each of the participants is a commander-in-chief.
But then is your country ready for this cyber war of the future?
No one predicted that we would have an internet connection, services would run stably and we would launch new services on a weekly basis. So yes, we are ready to actively fight in this area. And win.