Ex-Google boss says tech plays crucial role in helping Ukraine war effort

This Monday, September 12, 2022, former Google boss Eric Shmidt punctuated a 36-hour visit to Ukraine with a press conference. To AFP, he highlighted Ukraine’s efficiency in mastering and deploying information technologies since the start of the war, a key factor in his view of protecting the country’s interests against invasion. Russian. It places particular emphasis on data protection and the security of information sharing.

Data protection via cloud and Musk’s Starlink network

Back in time, we are on February 24, at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory. Several times singled out for attempts at destabilization via cyberspace before the outbreak of the conflict, Russia accompanied its military intervention with several massive cyberattacks.

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To protect itself from attacks by Russian hackers, the Ukrainian government reacts quickly, in one day they held a parliament meeting and changed a law […] they moved all their data from government servers in Kyiv to the cloud »Schmidt said. The war gave everyone a political excuse to do the right thing », he added. A transfer of sensitive data which subsequently accelerated, these being sent to Poland in particular, while discussions with France were also underway.

Several tech giants are quickly mobilizing in support of Ukraine. In the front row, Elon Musk and his network of Starlink satellites, in response to a tweet from the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov. A few days later, photos emerged on social networks, samples of the delivery of some 20,000 Starlink dishes.

Secure access to the Starlink network considered critical by Éric Shmidt, Elon Musk is a hero for that. This made it possible to defeat the strategy of the camp opposite to bring down the Internet network ». Keeping the telecommunications network operational for both the military apparatus and the population was a first-rate technological asset in resisting the waves of Russian cyberattacks and maintaining exchanges between units.

Information-sharing apps to Ukraine’s rescue

On the side of Ukrainian state bodies, we are organizing and relying on international cooperation to protect ourselves against Russian destabilization. On the population side, technological mutual aid goes through applications, mainly around the sharing of field information. The first application, Diia, already very popular, developed an “E-Enemy” functionality. Diia was originally an application for accessing government services. With “E-Enemy”, the Ukrainian population can now carry out – in a secure way – different types of declarations: material damage following bombardments, Russian troops seen on the ground… A completely decentralized collection of field intelligence which has enabled the military apparatus to trace the Russian advance. The country has also skillfully used biometrics and facial recognition techniques to identify Russian troops involved in atrocities, such as the Bucha massacre early in the war.

The other service in vogue since the start of the conflict is Threema, encrypted instant messaging. Ex-Google boss details how the app was put to use, The military body received thousands of field reports every day, brought up by the population. They reduced them to targets using artificial intelligence programs and human intelligence and ended up hunting them down »he explained. If you think about it, here’s what they had: an internet that remained open, government data protected, and a way for citizens to provide them with information. »he summarizes.

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