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digital espionage

Ukraine's government asks hackers for help with the country's 'cyber defense'

The Ukrainian government is requesting assistance from hackers and cybersecurity experts who want to carry out cyber spying missions against Russian troops and protect critical infrastructure, Reuters reports.

On Thursday morning, messages began appearing on Ukrainian hacker forums, asking for volunteers to "get involved in the cyber defense of our country," two people involved with the project told Reuters. Interested parties were told to fill out an application on Google Docs, sharing their skills — like developing malware — and a list of references.

Yegor Aushev, co-founder of Cyber Unit Technologies in Kyiv, told Reuters he wrote the post at the request of a senior defense ministry official. The volunteers will be separated into two units: defensive and offensive. Those on the defensive side will safeguard infrastructure like power plants and water systems, Aushev said, while the offensive unit will conduct digital espionage against Russian forces. "We have an army inside our country," Aushev told Reuters. "We need to know what they are doing."

Ukraine does not have a military cyber force, and a security official told The Washington Post earlier this month that the country planned to start one this year. Reuters contacted Aushev on Thursday night, and he said that over the course of the day, several hundred people applied to join the volunteer cyber force, and he's now in the process of vetting them.