Ukrainian hackers posed as women to trick Russian soldiers into sending their location

In what would seem almost a different world altogether, groups of computer professionals in Ukraine have turned into hackers to put to use their skills to fight off the Russian aggression. Once accustomed to swanky offices, these people are now working out of secret locations to keep themselves safe while fighting for their country.

Using the dark web against the enemy

The Financial Times spoke to one such Ukrainian group led by Nikita Knysh. Before the Russian invasion, 30-year-old Knysh worked as a cyber security expert, preventing hackers from succeeding. The onset of the Russian assault in February changed everything, and Knysh wanted to serve the country with his skill set.

He approached an old mentor and one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men, Vsevolod Kozhemyako, looking for a Starlink internet connection that Elon Musk was shipping to Ukraine. Knysh had assembled a crew of 30 like-minded people huddled in a cheap hostel in Vinnytsia. Dubbed Hackyourmom, the group took the attack to Russia using their cyber skills and the free internet provided by Starlink.

Knysh told FT that his group was involved in the fake bomb threats on Russian-bound airplanes, which saw dozens of flights delayed or canceled altogether. Their sparkling success, however, was tricking Russian soldiers into revealing their locations.

Honey-trapping Russian soldiers

Knysh claims that his group of hackers posed as attractive women on several social media platforms, including Telegram, and contacted Russian soldiers in Melitopol. The group knew that the Russian soldiers wanted to boast about being warriors and urged them to send their pictures.

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