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Russian Cyber Army Targets Japan

Miklos Zoltan

By Miklos Zoltan . 19 February 2024

Founder - Privacy Affairs

Alex Popa

Fact-Checked this

Russian Cyber Army hit The Japan Economic Foundation with a massive DDoS attack. The evidence of the attack was posted by the organization itself on its public website, along with screenshots of the victim’s offline website.

  • The Russian Cyber Army is known for its politically and ideologically driven operations against all those it deems enemies of the Russian state
  • While the Japan Economic Foundation didn’t comment on the situation, their website went offline as a result of the attack
  • The victim recovered fairly soon, but the breach showed that no one is outside of Russia’s long cybercriminal arm
  • The Russian Cyber Army didn’t state the reason for the attack, but this is typical for the group

DDoS attacks are the war tool of choice for Russia outside of conventional military operations. That’s because they’re extremely effective at disrupting the enemy’s logistics and its capacity to resist.

This explains why Russia has been involved in an ongoing cyberwar against Ukraine ever since the 2022 invasion began. The Russian Cyber Army, or the People’s Cyber Army of Russia, has also used cyberattacks against numerous other countries.

X showing the Russian Cyber Army Team attack on the Japan Economic Foundation

This recent attack against Japan seems to also be linked to the ongoing Ruso-Ukrainian war. According to the latest estimates, Japan contributed over $12.1 billion to Ukraine’s ability to resist the Russian invasion.

Some of this aid came in the form of humanitarian supplies, but much of it translated to military support. This painted a target on Japan’s back, and the Russian Cyber Army didn’t hesitate to shoot it.

Russia’s Cybercriminal Activity

Cybernetic warfare isn’t a new concept. All countries that matter have engaged in some for of cyberwarfare ever since the internet was invented and Russia is no exception.

Many of such attacks are less conspicuous and direct than standard DDoS attacks. A former Russian intelligence officer detailed part of Russia’s strategy which consisted in massive disinformation operations.

These would include posting reportedly scientific articles on US-based websites to support pro-Russian talking points. These were meant to pose as official and verified reports with the underlying goal of pushing propagandistic goals.

The Russian Cyber Army, though, relies on more blunt and aggressive tactics. DDoS attacks may not be as effective and damaging as innocuous, long-term propagandistic games, but they do work.

In most cases, they disrupt the target’s normal operations, while in others, they may result in data leaks as well.

The Russian Cyber Army currently ranks as the oldest, most dangerous, and most well-founded cybercriminal organization. The organization first hit the public stage in 2007 during a massive cyberattack against Estonia.

During that event, Estonian mass media sites, financial institutions, and public websites were all hit by millions of botnets. This is a typical MO, often associated with the Russian Cyber Army, that aims to flood the target website with more requests than it can handle.

This joint operation was so damaging and extensive that it prompted NATO to form the Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence shortly after. If nothing else, this shows the organization’s tremendous intimidation power.

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