All-Ukrainian Scientific and Practical Conference
National Academy of the SBU, 31 March 2023

"Ukraine's experience in countering the first wave of cyberwar is unique for the entire international community"
Roundtable moderator, The world's first cyber war, Evgeny Vladimirov

The Russian Federation's war against Ukraine is being waged not only on the battlefield, but also in cyberspace. Ukrainian experts believe that this is the world's first cyber war. This very question became the main topic of discussion at the annual All-Ukrainian Scientific and Practical Conference, dedicated to the problems of state information security management. The event was traditionally held at the National Academy of the SBU.

Those present included:

  • Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Serhiy Demedyuk,
  • Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Vitaly Deinega,
  • Head of the Cyber ​​Security Department of the Security Service of Ukraine, Ilya Vityuk,
  • Deputy Chairman of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, Viktor Zhora,
  • Member of the VRU Committee on of national security, defence and intelligence, Oleksandr Fedienko,
  • Head of the Cyber ​​Police Department of the National Police of Ukraine, Yury Vykhodets,
  • Representatives of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,
  • The Kyiv Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
  • The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,
  • Specialists of the ZVO and
  • The media community.

The head of the Cyber ​​Security Department of the SBU, Ilya Vityuk, spoke about the results of the criminal proceedings of the SBU regarding Russian cyberattacks and the importance of bringing to justice the top military and political leadership of the aggressor country.He noted that in 2022, the Russian Federation tripled the number of cyber attacks on Ukraine. Moreover, they are mainly aimed at civil infrastructure, in particular, energy and logistics, as well as state registers.

"Today, when the question of the International Tribunal regarding the crimes of the Russian Federation in Ukraine arose, Russian cyber attacks should also be considered as a war crime. For example, the same cyber attacks on energy facilities, especially in winter. Failure of these systems also causes casualties among the civilian population. And this is a real war crime," Ilya Vityuk emphasised.

According to experts, despite the fact that Ukrainians have been fighting the enemy in cyberspace for many years, there is still no unified definition of the concept of cyber war in the world. The consequence of the absence of a regulatory and legal framework is the impossibility of forming adequate forces and means of responding to existing threats and bringing the perpetrators to justice for war crimes in the cyber sphere.

During the discussion, Deputy Minister of Defence of Ukraine for Digital Development, Digital Transformations and Digitalisation, Vitaliy Deinega also emphasised the importance of the legislative definition of the concept of "cyber war":

"I will be tasked with ordering military higher educational institutions: the University of Defence of Ukraine and the Academy of the Security Service of Ukraine, regarding the implementation of complex interdepartmental scientific research work on the study of cyber warfare".

Rector of the SBU National Academy, Andriy Chernyak, noted that in recent years, the institution of the Ukrainian special services has been paying considerable attention to information and cybersecurity issues, including the training of cyber specialists.

"Legislative settlement of the issue of "cyber war" will help to form a unified strategy for countering challenges in cyberspace. We are ready to participate in such scientific research and legalisation of the relevant terminology," he added.

Thanks to this initiative, Ukraine can be the first in the world to introduce the concept of "cyber war" and offer it to the international community to develop a unified strategy for countering challenges in cyberspace.All national subjects of cybersecurity, representatives of critical infrastructure objects, public organisations, scientific institutions will also be involved in this study.During the conference, the participants also discussed ways of counteracting the information and psychological influence of the Russian Federation on the Ukrainian military and strengthening the protection of information with limited access in wartime conditions.