Archivists ready to archive Ukraine's internet should Russia cyberattack them

As fears grow of a war between Russia and Ukraine, the former Soviet state is rushing to preserve its internet culture in case of Russian cyberattacks. Input Mag spoke to Simon Liu, a member of an archivist group called ArchiveTeam, about his role in backing up Ukraine’s internet:

“I thought it was interesting, people coming together to preserve slices of the internet through time,” he tells Input. “As companies shut down large swaths of their product stack, or they get sold or acquired and things shut down, things disappear. It’s really unfortunate because it’s a crucial piece of internet history that, a lot of time, just disappears.”

Liu’s home broadband connection is faster than most, so he’s volunteered on a number of ArchiveTeam’s projects over the years. He doesn’t use the Warrior app itself, instead running the project scripts directly. He runs 30 scripts at a time, each of which are capable of doing 20 jobs simultaneously. “If my family is using the internet a lot and don’t want to impact that, I’ll spin them down,” he says. “At night when no one is using the internet, I’ll run it back up.”

Scores of volunteers like Liu are sharing their resources to save the Ukrainian internet in case of emergency. “Hats off to them – it sounds like a tremendous undertaking,” says Welton Chang, founder of social media intelligence firm Pyrra Tech and former chief technology officer at Washington, D.C. think tank Human Rights First. “Cyberwar and cybersecurity people have been talking about this for some time — at least since the mid-’90s — [saying] that as reliance on internet infrastructure increased, the more likely these assets would be first targeted in an actual interstate war.”

See also: Kazakhstan’s Internet Shutdown Offers Lessons for Russia-Ukraine Crisis and mobile internet disruptions in Luhansk, Ukraine amid heightened tensions with Russia

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