(RepublicanPeak.com)- Ukraine is drafting new legislation that could bring the IT Army, the volunteer hacking brigade, into the Ukrainian armed forces, Newsweek reported.
Ukraine’s IT Army claims to be responsible for a series of cyberattacks on Russia, including shutting down Russian state media websites during President Vladimir Putin’s annual State of the Nation speech.
The group, which is made up of foreign volunteers, has also come under fire for attacking Russian civilian targets including hospitals.
If the legislation passes, Ukraine will join other Western nations like Finland and Estonia to have a reserve cyber force augmenting its regular military.
Nataliya Tkachuk, Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Coordination Center for Cybersecurity, told Newsweek that the law would create a functioning cyber reserve force within Ukraine’s Defense Ministry that would allow Ukraine to build its cyber defense capabilities through volunteers.
This cyber reserve would consist of civilian cyber experts who are trained by the Ukrainian military to be mobilized during increased cyber threats or armed conflict, Tkachuk said.
While Tkachuk did not specifically name the IT Army, Newsweek assumes that the volunteer group would likely be absorbed into the new cyber reserve, the core of which would consist of former conscripts whose technical skills were identified during their military service.
In a statement to Newsweek, the IT Army said it supports the efforts to create a cyber reserve and “legalize” the “fight in the cyber sector.” The group said integrating its volunteer IT Army into the new cyber reserve would create a “more effective defense” against cyberattacks.
Last month, Politico reported that Ukraine has been gearing up for cyberattacks from Russian hackers.
Google’s Threat Analysis Group reported in February that it had “high confidence” Moscow planned to increase its cyberattacks in 2023 if the war shifts in Ukraine’s favor. Similarly, Recorded Future, a cyber threat intelligence firm, also assessed that Russian cybercriminals would “almost certainly” back the Russian military in its next big attack on Ukraine.