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In recent years, the world has witnessed a surge in cyberattacks laced with disruptive elements, causing widespread chaos and hindering access to critical services. These attacks not only target traditional cyber-infrastructure but also extend to essential services, including telecommunications, internet, and financial systems. Such disruptions not only inconvenience individuals but also pose significant threats to national security and economic stability.

As stated in a paper that was requested by the European Parliament's subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE), one notable example occurred on March 28, 2022, when Ukrtelecom, Ukraine's largest telecommunications provider, fell victim to a cyberattack. The attack resulted in a drastic collapse in connectivity, plummeting to only 13% of pre-war levels. The nation experienced widespread disruption, highlighting the profound impact such cyber incidents can have on a country's infrastructure and economy.

Beyond the immediate disruptions to essential services, cyberattacks also contribute to the spread of disinformation and propaganda. By targeting the media sector, adversaries seek to manipulate the information space, sow confusion and undermine trust in official sources. This erosion of trust not only undermines societal cohesion but also weakens faith in democratic institutions.

Escalating Cyber Threats in the EU

Previous months have seen a surge in disruptive digital attacks within the European Union, with election-related services emerging as prime targets. According to Juhan Lepassaar, Chief of the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), these attacks have doubled in frequency, many of which are linked to Russia-backed groups. Lepassaar's warning, shared in an interview, comes as the bloc braces for the upcoming European Parliament election, highlighting the geopolitical motives behind the escalating cyber threats since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

ENISA, also known as the EU Agency for Cybersecurity, has been actively engaged in safeguarding the bloc's election infrastructure for the past seven months, conducting exercises aimed at enhancing resilience against cyber intrusions. However, despite these efforts, the threat landscape continues to evolve rapidly.

Read More: ENISA and UK Government Respond to Escalating Telecom Security Risks in Europe


Recent revelations point to Russia's involvement in a series of cyberattacks coinciding with the renewed invasion of Ukraine. The UK, along with its international allies, announced Russia's culpability in these attacks, including the assault on the communications company, Viasat, on February 24, which coincided with the onset of Russia's major invasion of Ukraine. Although the primary target was reportedly the

Ukrainian military, collateral damage extended to personal and commercial internet users, as well as wind farms in central Europe.

Read More: ETSI Faces Cyberattack, Hackers Steal User Database


Furthermore, the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) assesses that Russian Military Intelligence played a significant role in the defacement of Ukrainian government websites on January 13 and the deployment of Whispergate destructive malware.

Amidst these escalating threats, cybersecurity leaders from the Five Eyes alliance, the European Union, and other international allies convened at the NCSC's Cyber UK conference in Newport. The gathering serves as a platform for discussing shared threats and fostering collaborative efforts to address the growing cybersecurity challenges faced globally.

Addressing the growing threat of disruptive cyberattacks requires a multifaceted approach. Enhanced cybersecurity measures, robust incident response strategies, and international cooperation are essential to mitigate risks and safeguard against future attacks. Additionally, efforts to combat disinformation and bolster digital literacy can help inoculate populations against manipulation and misinformation campaigns.

Proactive measures and collaborative efforts are crucial to fortify cyber defenses, protect critical infrastructure, and preserve the integrity of information ecosystems. Only through collective action can we effectively confront the growing challenges posed by disruptive cyber threats.

Telecom Review Europe Exclusive Coverage: Protecting Europe's Digital Front: Handling Cyberthreats and Security Issues