UK troops targeted by Russian spies

UK troops targeted by Russian spies

With CyberUK, billed as the UK government’s flagship cyber security event, taking place at the ICC, Birmingham later this week, The Times published a pertinent article over the weekend. The piece in question entitled “Russia targets British soldiers’ mobile phones”, states that UK troops have been warned about the risk of Russian agents spying on their mobile phones. While this has long been suspected, during recent NATO battle exercises in Estonia, troops were once again reminded of the dangers around using mobile phones while in theatre.

Fake base stations – on old attack vector still in use

An investigation has indicated that Russian forces are using transportable antenna (fake base stations launched via drones – see our previous blog on how an IMSI catcher attack works) to access data sent by devices, and in some cases to erase information held on phones. As long ago as 2017 soldiers were reporting ‘strange things’ happening to their phones such as contacts disappearing.  Troops have been warned against posting content online, even to restricted profiles visible only to friends, because such posts can easily be accessed by uninvited third parties.

The very real threat from Russian cyber-attacks was also demonstrated a couple of months ago when an RAF plane carrying Defence Secretary Grant Shapps reported that its GPS had been jammed.

In early March the BBC reported that Germany admitted to a hack by Russia of a military meeting where officers discussed giving Ukraine long-range missiles, and their possible targets. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-68457087.  The hack was helped in part by the fact that they were not using a secure communications channel.

The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI), impersonation-based attacks using deepfakes is also an attack vector that is becoming more prevalent.  Video calls are becoming so believable that in February a finance worker in a multinational company was duped into paying out $25 million after a video call with a deepfake chief financial officer. https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/04/asia/deepfake-cfo-scam-hong-kong-intl-hnk/index.html  Not only was the CFO on the call a deepfake, so were all the other participants, all of whom were known to the finance worker.

Cyber-warfare affects us all

There are lessons here for the rest of us.  Cyber-warfare is increasingly becoming an all too real occurrence, and so too are impersonation-based attacks.  We all need to take care. While our mobile phones, which have the computing power undreamt of just a few decades ago, are for many of us pivotal to running our lives, they also carry many threats to privacy and safety.  Not least among these are what do we do if/when systems go down. If GPS were down for example, people would need to navigate using paper maps again.

We can all do our bit by protecting our own privacy and that of our family, friends, and colleagues by being careful about our use of social media apps.  For example, being more aware about how we communicate and the importance of keeping business and personal lives separate. Using a secure means of communication that is Secure by Design and has attributes such as identity-based encryption and authentication, not only protects users from impersonation-based attacks, these platforms also help to protect users contact lists, thereby safeguarding friends and family as well as work colleagues.

To learn more about how Armour Comms can help your organisation protect sensitive business communications, visit us at Cyber UK, or email us: sales@armourcomms.com

Can we get anything in here about deep fake and impersonation based threats?

  • UK troops targeted by Russian spies
  • UK troops targeted by Russian spies
  • UK troops targeted by Russian spies
  • UK troops targeted by Russian spies
  • UK troops targeted by Russian spies
  • UK troops targeted by Russian spies
  • UK troops targeted by Russian spies