Following a telecommunications hijacking in Russia’s large Ukrainian city of Kherson, Kyiv claims to have been able to re-establish links without going through Russian infrastructure.
The war between Moscow and Kyiv is also a battle for control of networks in Ukraine, apart from the cyberspace confrontation that has been taking place since the beginning of the conflict. An example of this discreet telecommunications clash appeared in early May with the southern city of Kherson.
An Internet outage, followed by a reorientation via Russia
By the end of April, there had been a brutal disruption of the Internet in this locality located tens of kilometers above Crimea, a territory annexed by Russia in 2014. Connectivity had finally been restored, but it had been found that the “path” followed by the data was no longer the same as before.
That is, instead of circulating on Ukrainian networks, now Internet traffic was moving through foreign infrastructure, in this case those of Russian operators Miranda and Rostelecom. Observers then stressed the risk to the Kherson population of being affected by Russian censorship and misinformation, and of being targeted by digital espionage.
A risk that today is on its way to being ruled out, at least for now. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov he says in a tweet published on May 4 that communications have been fully restored, citing the presence of three operators in the area to ensure connectivity in the city.
” I am pleased to confirm that the telecommunications connection has been completely restored in Kherson. Three telecom operators are available again. Dear Kherson, the service problems were temporary, as was the Russian occupation. Outstanding joint work of local authorities and telecommunications companies », It is written.
The statements of the Ukrainian minister have been independently confirmed by NetBlocks. This is an initiative born in 2017 to monitor and document the freedom of Internet access worldwide. According to its measures, the traffic returns through the infrastructure of Ukraine, which is shown with a “traceroute”, a computer command that shows the path of the data.
In a message posted on May 4, the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, which is the Ukrainian equivalent of the National Agency for Information Systems Security in France, condemned this. attempt to hijack links. The service, called DSSSZI, has been busy on the cyber front since the war began.
” This is a flagrant violation of international law. We have already asked the International Telecommunication Union [une agence des Nations unies, ndlr] impose appropriate sanctions on Russia and revoke the aggressor’s membership in the Union demanded Yuii Shchyhol, the director of the DSSSZI, in a press release.
What happened in Kherson, however, is just the tip of the iceberg and there are other places that are in this situation as well. ” Communications will be re-established in all Russian-controlled territories. This will happen as soon as these territories are liberated or network operators can access the infrastructure added Yuii Shchyhol
” The same thing happened in the regions that Russia took after 2014. In addition to surveillance and censorship, generating benefits for the state is an important element. », indicated in addition on May 3 Dlshad Othman, an expert in computer security from Amazon, in reference to Crimea. Before adding this type of separation ” it happens everywhere. »