Russians hijack cameras in Ukraine coffee shops to monitor Western aid, says official

Cameras installed in Ukrainian coffee shops have become targets for Russian hackers as part of espionage attempts to monitor the movement of Western aid, according to a US cybersecurity official.

On Tuesday, the Director of Cybersecurity at the National Security Agency, Rob Joyce, stated that Russian hackers had been accessing private security cameras in Ukrainian coffee shops to gather information on aid convoys passing by.

The cybersecurity official further added that these attacks were part of the Russian government's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. “There are continued attacks on Ukrainian interests, whether it’s financial, government, personal, individual business, just trying to be disruptive,” he said.

Government-backed hackers were actively targeting Ukrainian cyberspace, and one of the attack vectors is hacking CCTV cameras.

Joyce explained that while the town-square surveillance cameras are available online, hackers are exploiting zero-day and N-day vulnerabilities – glitches that respectively have no patches and some patches available to fix them – to log in to private cameras of local businesses to monitor “the road they need to see”.

“That looks a lot like intelligence, right, to understand what the West is delivering, what the US is supporting, what we’re doing,” said the official at the Center for International and Strategic Studies in Washington.

“The Russians in the physical space and in the cyber arena haven’t demonstrated the ability to do sophisticated use of complex things. And in cyber, you know, I think people have underestimated really how much game they brought,” discussed Joyce.

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