Fedorov, for his part, said Russia could “turn it around the way they want. But the fact is that thousands of Russians are dying in Ukraine and we are only providing this information to their families because it serves a humanitarian purpose, among other things.”
The use of Kiev face recognition technology also has a promotional element.
“This facial recognition plays a role for us, let’s just say, for our convenience instead of information,” Fedorov said. Moscow paints a picture of a professional and volunteer fighting force. “We are trying to say that Russia, for example, is sending the concept – we are proving it and justifying it with a lot of factual information. We can give you a list of hundreds of people between the ages of 18 and 19, with their names and their dates of birth and how and where in particular, they were recruited. So it gives us some element of our claim. “
Fedorov says the utility only goes beyond identifying the dead.
“It’s an interesting case study of how we use Clearview AI,” Fedorov said. “There was a man who was found in a Ukrainian hospital, he claimed he was a Ukrainian soldier who was suffering from shell shock or some kind of trauma and he had forgotten everything. And he was claiming that he was Ukrainian. So the doctor sent us the picture, and we were able to identify him within minutes. We found his social network profile and we established that he was Russian and of course he was brought in charge.
Ukrainian officials say the frequency of Russian cyber-attacks has tripled since before the war and that they have been aggressively targeting critical infrastructure since the war began.
But Victor Jora, deputy head of Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection, said Moscow may have increased its ability to carry out attacks. “Russian cyber operations have probably reached their full potential,” he said.
Zora told Wired that years of training, practice and NATO cooperation have made Ukraine much more resilient to cyber attacks. Some attacks are easier to defend than others — as we have seen, Zora says he is watching an active attack on the state administration in Lviv, which was publicly announced hours before Russia.
But Zora insists that it is wrong to overestimate how powerful Russia’s cyber capabilities are, and that it would be wrong to underestimate its more “sophisticated” operations. “We should monitor their potential, like the sandworm, the fancy bear, the gammaredon, many other groups that are still active and still very dangerous,” he said, referring to a few hacker groups in the Russian government.
Brandon Valeriano, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in cyber operations, says offensive cyber operations do not blend well with traditional, dynamic warfare. At best, he says, “they’re enabling, they’re admirable… they don’t transform it.”
Valeriano points to the slowdown in the pace of Russian-backed cyber-attacks targeting the United States as evidence that Moscow’s power is not as extensive as some have assessed. “They are not organized for aggressive cyber operations the way we think they are,” he said.