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Ukraine Crisis

Is Russia waging a global cyber war to support conflict in Ukraine?

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As the war in Ukraine rages on, Russian strategists are taking the battle online in a bid to turn the tide

Russia has made slow progress in its bid to conquer Ukraine.

Mounting military failures and unexpected resistance from Ukrainian fighters has led to much slower progress for President Putin’s campaign.

Russia is facing the prospect of further EU sanctions, as well as mounting dissatisfaction within the country about the slow progress of the conflict.

U.S. Military Veteran Ricoh Danielson told Ticker NEWS the Russian military is in desperate need of victory.

He says troops need to some success to maintain morale, something the “demoralised” Russian military is currently missing.

“A battalion actually… runs on morale and welfare,” he says.

But Danielson says the offensive is slowly becoming more organised.

“They are slowly moving to a more strategic and also defensive posture to obtain more real estate. And that’s kind of what they do, they slow it, they move into these big slow machines, and get what they need.”

Ricoh Danielson, U.S. Army veteran

Because of this, Danielson is expecting the war to get progressively worse.

“We’ll probably see more strategic manoeuvres from Russia, we will probably see a lot more aggression.”

Increase in threat actors

One method Russia may use to escalate the war is by increasing the number of threat actors in operation.

A threat actor is a person or group who attempts to attack elements of the cyber world including computers, online systems and networks.

Danielson says there has been “an uptick” in Russian threat actors since the start of the war.

He says Russian threat actors can target anything from critical infrastructure to government networks.

Recently, there has been evidence they are specifically targeting the financial sector to cause economic damage and loss to their adversaries.

As cyber attacks are not a traditional form of warfare, it means Russia can expand the scope of their offensive.

While they are lodged in conflict with Ukrainian threat actors, Danielson says Russia is also “launching attacks” on the U.S. and other nations.

He says they are trying to “cause damage to countries… who are partaking in the sanctions.”

He is also not ruling out the possibility of Russia enlisting other nations to help it fight a global cyber war.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that they reach out to some of their known other threat actors, such as North Korea, China to get in the fight with them. For force multiplication.”

Ricoh Danielson, U.S. Army veteran

Russia’s cyber war

According to Danielson, Russia has always been “number one” in terms of cyber warfare and tactics.

“They’re just dominating the cyberspace.”

Ricoh Danielson, U.S. Army veteran

They are also a big producer of both malware and ransomware, which they use to target innocent civilians.

“You’re probably going to see an uptick on ransomware as a service, which is when they try to extort money from you, to you know, get victims,” Danielson says.

They may also use traps to lure unsuspecting customers and consumers into gaining access to their company infrastructure.

Danielson also notes how Russia is targeting networks for critical infrastructure, such as those used for power plants, banks and schools among others.

“It’s starting to rear its ugly head again,” he says.

Bryan Hoadley contributed to this report

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Money

Europe is preparing for winter: how can you keep costs down?

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Britain is facing a surge in cold weather, with icy conditions and fog expected for much of this week

The UK Met Office has issued a Yellow warning, which means there could be damage to buildings as Britons brace for cold conditions.

Like much of Europe, the UK are bracing for very strong winds on Wednesday, causing disruption to travel and some utilities.

Drivers are also urged to take extra care on the roads, with warnings in place for icy stretches forming on UK roads.

But some residents who are seeking to heat their homes are on edge, as power prices remain high.

Peter Smith is the director of policy and advocacy at National Energy Action, who said the rising cost of living is impacting Britons.

“The average annual bill has almost doubled since this time last year.”

The organisation seeks to close the gaps when it comes to energy affordability. It predicts 6.7 million UK households will be in fuel poverty in the coming months.

This means millions of Britons will be unable to afford living in a warm, dry and safe home.

“So far the milder than usual weather has protected many from the spiralling bills as they haven’t needed to heat their homes as high or as long as usual,” Mr Smith said.

How to keep warm without blowing your bill

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged people to make their own decisions, as he met with world leaders in tropical Bali last week.

“There are things that we can do—all of us—to improve the efficiency with which we use energy, to be careful about it,” he said.

For example, an efficient heater; taking advantage of the sun, where appropriate; and rearranging furniture are some cost-effective methods to reduce the burden on gas and energy bills.

Pipes at the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline are pictured in Germany.

In addition, there are some other cheap ways to reduce dependence on gas and electricity bills, as the temperature continue to plunge.

  • close off rooms you’re not using
  • lower the temperature of heating
  • make sure windows are fully closed
  • block cold drafts from under doors using door snakes or carpet.

The UK Government has placed a cap freeze on energy prices.

This means households will pay an average £2,500 on their energy bills. But there is a catch: if households use more, they pay more.

National Energy Action believes an additional 2.2 million homes could be in fuel poverty, when compared to the same time last year.

Why are energy prices so high?

As demand increases, so too does the cost of heating homes.

But there is another factor, which has sent prices rising across Europe: the war in Ukraine.

Russia accounts for 25% of global gas trade, 15% of global thermal coal trade and 10% of global oil trade.

However, countries are struggling to find alternative supplies after sanctioning Moscow for the ongoing conflict.

“Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine, and rising energy prices across the world are not a reason to go slow on climate change. They are a reason to act faster.”

RISHI SUNAK, UK PRIME MINISTER

Germany halted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was expected to double the amount of Russian gas shipped to Europe.

In July, Russia cut the amount of gas pumped through Nord Stream 1 to 20 per cent capacity.

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News

Hoax call between Polish and “French” Presidents

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Poland President Andrezj Duda spoke to a hoaxer posing as France counterpart Emmanuel Macron, on the night a missile hit near the Poland-Ukraine border.

The news was confirmed after two Russian pranksters, Vovan and Lexus, posted a recording of the incident, and Duda’s office also affirmed the incident.

During the call, Duda was asking who was responsible for the attack on November 15, wanting to avoid a war with Russia.

The missile landed six kilometres from the border.

Initial reports suggested the missile was Russian-made, but it was later discovered to likely be a Ukrainian air defence missile.

This is the second time the pranksters have targeted the Poland President, who have made their names going after celebrities and politicians, especially those opposed to the Kremlin.

ENDS

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News

Russian missiles hit NATO territory, killing two

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Russian missile hits Poland, as the west assesses the attack on a NATO member

Reports a Russian missile has landed in Poland, killing two people. A projectile struck an area where grain was drying in the village of Przewodów, near the Ukraine border. 

An anonymous U.S. intelligence official suggested a barrage of Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian power grid, and spilt into neighbouring Poland.

Poland is a NATO member, therefore, this signifies a potential escalation to the ongoing war. It also marks the first time weapons have impacted a NATO country.

Emergency talks

Currently, the Polish government are holding urgent talks. A Polish spokesman Piotr Mueller has confirmed that top leaders are holding an emergency meeting regarding the “crisis situation.”

Under Article 5 of NATO, an attack on one country is considered an attack on all.

The White House has not confirmed the reports but the Pentagon is assessing the situation.

“I don’t want to speculate or get in hypotheticals. When it comes to our security commitments in Article 5—we’ve been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.”

Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon Press Secretary

While NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, including in response to the situation in Syria and the Russian invasion of Ukraine—it has only invoked Article 5 once.

For the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States, NATO evoked Article 5 and came to the defence of the United States.

“Terror is not limited to our national borders.

Russian missiles hit Poland. To fire missiles at NATO territory.

This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a very significant escalation. We must act.”

volodymyr zelensky, Ukraine’s president

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