An agency of the EU

State-sponsored hackers: hybrid armies?

Alert - No5 - 30 January 2015

Patryk Pawlak, Gergana Petkova

Download document

Cyber-attacks are rarely disconnected from political realities. CyberBerkut – a pro-Russian group of ‘patriot’ hackers – has, for example, hacked German government websites in retaliation for the political support offered to Kiev by Berlin. The Syrian Electronic Army – a hacker collective thought to be linked to Syrian President Bassar al-Assad – regularly targets Western media outlets, most recently Le Monde.

Due to this blurring of the virtual and physical worlds, governments, which are familiar with stateless actors such as al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), may now have to learn to deal with equally hostile, amorphous and often state-sponsored ‘hacktors’.