ArmInfo. - Turan. In matters of cyber security and information war, Armenia and Azerbaijan pose the greatest danger to each other. This is expressed in cyber attacks, fake news in order to compromise or misinformation the other side. Armenian expert in the field of cyber security Samvel Martirosyan told about this in an interview with Turan.
According to him, the first large cyberwar between the two countries took place in the winter of 2000. "Then there was a massive attack of Azerbaijani hackers on the Armenian segment of the Internet and about 30 Armenian websites were hacked - almost all at that time were Armenian Internet sites.
The Armenian side launched a counter attack and hacked the same number of your sites. The damage was mutual and as far as I know, a Security Council meeting was convened in Baku to discuss the situation," said Martirosyan. Because of the Karabakh conflict, the information war between the two countries was fought for a long time, but the cyber war began, it can be considered the winter of 2000. However, this is not the only threat. There are significantly more serious threats to both countries in the world and in the region. "We do not have such powerful Internet backbones and if we conduct a powerful DDoS-attack (Distributed Denial of Service) against us, then we can turn off the Internet in the entire South Caucasus region including Georgia," says Martirosyan.
There is an interesting point. It lies in the fact that in cyber wars, too, use mercenaries. "In the CIS space and in the world there are many hacker groups that you can pay for and they organize any attack. From time to time, both you and we are confronted with such DDos attacks that are not coming from here. So, in the last 5-6 years there have been massive DDos attacks on the state sites of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which clearly came from a third party, "Martirosyan notes. On the question of who it could be, he assumes that it could be the "teachings" of some serious hacker groups who "train" on poorly protected networks. There are not many such groups in the world, but they are quite common, which makes it difficult to calculate them exactly. However, there are well-known hacker groups in the world, behind which there are specific countries or their state structures. However, of these groups is Fancy Bear - the structure of the GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation). The hackers of this group are accused of hacking into the sites of American government agencies, Hillarie Clinton and interfering in the elections in the United States. "Over the past 5-6 years, there were at least 5 serious incidents when they attacked Armenian resources, including military and diplomats. In this regard, both we and you are poorly protected," said the expert. As for the Azerbaijani hackers on Armenian resources, over the past year two cases were recorded: an attack on the websites of the parliament and the government, but they did not cause any significant damage. The damage here is more psychological. In response, Armenian hackers hack Azerbaijani sites and put something of their own there. A serious cyber war occurred in 2012, when the websites of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as a number of state structures, were hacked. "Strangely enough, there is a benefit from Azerbaijani hackers, since after your attacks in Armenia they began to seriously engage in defense. If it were not for your hackers, the evolution in this matter would be much slower. Therefore, during the April 2016 war, your attacks no longer caused such damage, although they were more sophisticated and looked like the promotion of fake news to sow panic. Recently, we have noticed some changes: the youth who hooligans, displaying curses or flags on our sites, have disappeared. Fake news began to be written in very competent Armenian. This means that the authorities began to work with them and now we should expect more targeted attacks, from which there will be more harm," said Martirosyan. Cyber war between countries in the event of large-scale hostilities will play a significant role, the expert believes. "I believe there will be attempts to disable each other's infrastructure. We see an example of such a cyber war in Ukraine, where the military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine is taking place in cyber space to a great extent," says Martirosyan. In his opinion, the parties will not only use their resources, but also hire outside hacker groups. In this sense, both sides have enough vulnerabilities. The fact is that digital development is faster than creating a security system. That is, attacking is easier than defending and these are problems of many countries.