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Ukraine's Digital Battle With Russia Isn't Going as Expected

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In recent weeks, the Ukrainian government has deployed the controversial face recognition program ClearviewAI to identify killed and captured Russian soldiers. It has deployed thousands of Elon Musk’s Starlink terminals to keep the country connected

Credit: Marcos del Mazo/Getty Images

When Russian president Vladimir Putin launched his full invasion of Ukraine in February, the world expected Moscow's cyber and information operations to pummel the country alongside air strikes and shelling. Two months on, however, Kyiv has not only managed to keep the country online amidst a deluge of hacking attempts, but it has brought the fight back to Russia.

Even Ukrainian officials are surprised by how ineffective Russia's digital war has been.

"I think that the root cause of this is the difference between our systems," says Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's 31-year-old minister for digital transformation. "Because the Russian system is centralized. It's monopolized. And it leads to the scale of corruption and graft that is becoming increasingly apparent as the war continues."

Speaking to WIRED from near Kyiv, Fedorov says his country has been preparing for this moment since Russia first invaded in 2014. "We have had eight years," he says.

From Wired
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