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Brad Smith: Russia's war in Ukraine started on Feb 23 in cyberspace

Weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, Microsoft was already helping the Ukrainians defend their cyberspace against Russian hackers, for instance by moving the government's physical servers into the cloud to avoid destruction by Russian missiles.

In the virtual world, like on the battlefield, "you've gotta disperse your defensive assets so they're not vulnerable to a single attack," Microsoft President Brad Smith says in a Global Stage livestream discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, "Crisis in a digital world," hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft.

Then came defending Ukraine against Russian cyberattacks.


In cyberspace, Smith says the war really started on February 23, a day before Russia's land invasion, when Microsoft noticed some 300 coordinated attacks trying to take down Ukrainian government websites and banks via Microsoft's own data centers in Seattle.

Still, it worked. Why? Because "so far in this war, defense has proven to be stronger [than] offense, frankly, in almost every category, but especially when it comes to cyberspace."

Watch more of this Global Stage discussion: "Crisis in a digital world"

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Digital Equity