Nate Fick

Russian hackers go after Ukraine’s allies 'to sow fear and discord,' says US cyber ambassador

TALLINN, Estonia — Russian threat actors are using cyberattacks against countries supporting Ukraine “to try to sow fear and discord among us,” U.S. cyber ambassador Nathaniel Fick said this week. 

“They will not succeed,” he pledged. 

Speaking at the CyCon conference in Estonia on Wednesday, Fick said the U.S. and EU should further advance their “digital solidarity” to protect systems from common threats.

“Our hope is that the global internet and tech ecosystem won’t fragment us into blocks,” Fick said. “But it’s increasingly clear that some leaders in more authoritarian regimes disagree.”

Russia, for example, has used its cyber capabilities to destabilize Ukraine — and hit back at countries in the region like Moldova who have opposed its invasion.

Digital solidarity is one of the major principles underpinning the U.S.'s new cyber strategy released earlier in May. 

“In practice, digital solidarity means providing mutual support, holding bad actors accountable, building capacity and investing in each other to work toward shared goals,” Fick said.

He called the creation of the Tallinn Mechanism — a system that helps provide foreign cyber aid to Ukraine — “an excellent example” of how countries can improve their collaborative efforts while countering common threats. 

Launched last year with the support of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, and the U.K., the mechanism “demonstrates the power of digital solidarity in the face of complex challenges,” Fick said.

Fick told Recorded Future News on Wednesday that he will discuss with a representative from Ukraine the potential signing of a bilateral security deal with Ukraine that includes cyber support to Kyiv.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian cyber official Oleksandr Potii said that Ukraine is currently negotiating four more deals with its partners, including one with its “biggest ally,” the U.S. Since the start of this year, Ukraine has signed 12 security deals with its partners, including the U.K., Germany, France, Canada, and Finland.

Fick’s comments came as both Ukraine and its Western partners face increased cyber threats amid the ongoing war in Ukraine and upcoming EU elections.

He stressed that Washington should stand with its allies.

“None of us can go alone in tech. We should work together towards common systems, policies, regulations and standards across the tech ecosystems,” he added.

Read More: All democracies 'struggling’ with foreign manipulation, warns Estonian president

Editor's Note: Photo caption corrected June 3.

Get more insights with the
Recorded Future
Intelligence Cloud.
Learn more.
No previous article
No new articles
Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.