“This is only a small part of this story.” In late March 2023, InformNapalm reported that the Ukrainian Cyber Resistance – a hacktivist organization with links to the Ukrainian government – had successfully breached and monitored the email account of Russian Air Force Colonel, Atroshchenko Sergey (Serhii) Valeriyovych. In addition to collating information from the colonel’s emails, the hacktivists posed as a Russian officer from the 960th Assault Aviation Regiment (headed by Atroshchenko) and initiated a conversation with Atroshchenko’s wife. For brevity, call this example Email Wives.
Via a series of emails, the hacktivists convinced the colonel’s wife to organise a “surprise” “Patriotic Photoshoot.” The photoshoot featured headshots of twelve wives wearing their Russian officer husbands’ dress uniforms – ranks and medals in clear view. It also included pictures of Russian jets painted with the symbol ‘Z’, a signal of support for the war in Ukraine. Using open-source intelligence – including photographs from the regiment’s New Year’s party – Ukrainian hacktivists were able to ascertain the identity of the Russian pilots.
Crucially, the colonel targeted was not just any Russian officer. Atroshchenko is an alleged war criminal, accused of ordering the indiscriminate targeting of a children’s hospital, art school, and “civilian-packed theatre in the city of Mariupol” in the first month of the unjust invasion. As part of the attack, approximately 600 people died – including minors. Such war crimes triggered calls for prosecution at the International Criminal Court.
Continue reading at justsecurity.org.