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Ukraine deactivates Russian-hacked security cameras

Moscow used cameras to spy on Ukrainian infrastructure in preparation for missile and drone attacks.

On January 2, 2024, Ukrainian security services announced they had disabled security cameras hacked by Russia. Located in residential areas of Kiev, the cameras were originally meant to monitor parking lots. Yet the Russian army took control of them, and changed their angles to spy on Ukrainian air defense systems and strategic infrastructure.

Ukrainian intelligence claims that Moscow used the cameras to coordinate the massive missile and drone strike against Kiev on the night of December 31, 2023. The Russian army sent more than 90 drones to Ukraine that night, leaving six dead and 129 injured.

An investigation by Ukrainian media Radio Free Europe, published on December 7, 2023, outlines the use of Ukrainian security cameras by Russian intelligence. Russian software indeed controlled thousands of these cameras, allowing Moscow to hijack them for espionage purposes, for years.

Also according to Radio Free Europe, a significant number of security cameras in Ukraine still use the software, despite a ban instituted at the start of the war. This update failure has left them vulnerable to Russian takeover.

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