Navigating the Cyber Front: Belarus' State Control and Emerging Cyber Threats


  • Darius Štitilis Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Marius Laurinaitis Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Inga Malinauskaitė-van de Castel Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Matthew Warren RMIT Univeristy, Melbourne, Australia



Cyber Security, Belarus, Hackers, Fake News, Hybrid Threats and State Based Attacks


This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the cyber landscape in Belarus, with a focus on the Belarus government's use of cyber activities from an offensive and defensive context, the emergence of opposition cyber activities, and the broader implications for cybersecurity and legal compliance. In the course of the research, researchers try to assess Belarus as a source of cyber-threats, both domestically and to neighbouring states (especially those supporting Ukraine). The first section of the paper outlines the Belarusian government's engagement in cybercrimes against its citizens, especially under President Lukashenko's regime, highlighting extensive online surveillance, repression, and the escalation of these activities following the 2020 presidential elections. In this political context, Belarus is also examined as a country initiating and/or contributing to Information Warfare activities, which are mainly directed at western countries. The second section of the paper delves into Belarus's cybersecurity legal framework, examining various national strategies and concepts, the absence of a formal cybersecurity strategy, and the focus on 'information security' as part of national security. The third section presents case studies of cyber activities in Belarus, contrasting government-backed hacking efforts with those of opposition groups like the Belarus Cyber Partisans. It explores the Partisans' attacks on state infrastructure and information leaks as a form of protest against the government, and the pro-government hackers' disinformation / information campaigns website defacements, and data breaches, particularly targeting Ukraine. This section highlights the evolving nature of cyber conflict in Belarus, where both government and opposition forces use cyber tools for political ends, reflecting broader geopolitical tensions in the region. This part of the report compares the Belarusian pro-government hacktivist and Cyber Partisans groups, their activities and manifestations within the country (inside), as well as the cyber threats they pose to foreign countries. The article attempts to answer the question of what kind of threat Belarus as a country poses in the context of cybersecurity, hybrid-cyber threats. This country is often included in Russian hybrid-cyber threats strategies, Belarus entities also work with Russian and sometimes Chinese groups in undertaking cyber activities against other countries.