Fears that Russia could steal top-secret government documents has caused Ukrainian authorities to explore potentially moving its data and servers to another country, reportedReuters. While the original plan is still to protect the country’s IT infrastructure, moving the most sensitive data to another location is a viable Plan B, Victor Zhora— the deputy chief of Ukraine's information protection arm—told the news service.
Ukraine has already faced a litany of aggressive cyberattacks from the neighboring nation, including last month’s penetration of its military and energy networks. Russia also attempted to interfere with Ukraine’s 2014 presidential election and regularly launches attacks on Ukraine’s power grid, leading to outages that last for days.
The Ukrainian government made the precautionary move of migrating its computer systems in Kyiv in 2014, following Russia’s occupation of Crimea. Ukrainian cyber teams have developed plans to disable infrastructure and transfer back-ups if its networks become compromised, Zhora told Politico.
But the fact that Ukraine’s most sensitive data is centralized in Kyiv presents a problem if Russia’s military occupies the capital. At the time of publication, Russian troops are currently encircling Kyiv, and experts estimate they could attack the city within days. Ukraine is already moving some sensitive data and servers to remote areas, out of Russia’s reach.
Ukraine hasn't released details on where it might attempt to relocate its sensitive governmental data, but shifting it to an allied nation might provide more than just physical distance from Russian's military. Reuters reported that cyberattacks against said data, were it stored within the borders of an ally nation, might trigger NATO’s collective defense clause, which requires all member nations to respond if one is attacked.
For now, Ukraine’s Parliament still has to give its seal of approval before the nation’s sensitive data can be moved.