By FRANK BAJAK – AP Technology Writer
BOSTON (AP) — Formed in the fury of countering Russia’s blitzkrieg, Ukraine’s volunteer ‘hacker’ corps, made up of hundreds of volunteers, is much more than a paramilitary cyberattack force in Europe’s first major war of the internet age. It is crucial for information warfare and intelligence crowdsourcing.
“We really are a swarm. A self-organizing swarm,” said Roman Zakharov, a 37-year-old IT manager at the Ukrainian Digital Army Center.
Inventions by willful hackers range from software tools that allow smartphone and computer owners anywhere to participate in distributed denial-of-service attacks on official Russian websites to bots on the Telegram messaging platform that block misinformation, allow people to report the location of Russian troops, and offer instructions on assembling Molotov cocktails and basic first aid.
Zahkarov conducted research at an automation startup before joining Ukraine’s Digital Self-Defense Corps. His group is StandForUkraine. Its ranks include software engineers, marketing managers, graphic designers and online ad buyers, he said.
The movement is global, drawing on Ukrainian diaspora IT professionals whose work includes web defacements with anti-war messages and graphic images of death and destruction in hopes of mobilizing Russians against the invasion.