(Cyber) GRU (IX): structure. Other units

In addition to the two previous units, which have gained prominence from the information brought to light in 2018, the GRU has other Military Units linked to signal intelligence, cybersecurity or information warfare. Some of which we can find data in public sources are the following:

  • Military Unit 11135 (18th Central Research Institute). Historically ([1]) the Central Scientific Research Institute has been identified within the GRU, which from Moscow designs SIGINT equipment for the GRU and which is perhaps currently this Military Unit, focused today not only on interception of radio and satellite communications but also on wireless devices, SCADA systems or protection of communications ([2]).
  • Military Unit 40904, known as the “177th Independent Center for the Management of Technological Development”. Located in Meshcheryakova, 2 (Moscow), with high probability, this unit specializes in signal intelligence processing ([3]).
  • Military Unit 36360. Apparently it is a training unit of the GRU in which advanced intelligence courses are taught, at least since January 1949. This training, also apparently and according to open sources, includes topics closely linked to the cyber domain such as the following:
    • Telecommunications Engineering (communication by radio, radio broadcasting and television).
    • Technologies, networks and communication systems.
    • Information systems and technologies: information and analysis.
    • Software Engineering.
    • Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.
    • Information security.
    • Computer software.
    • Automated information processing and control systems.
    • Translation and translation studies (linguistics).
  • Military Unit 54726 (46th Central Research Institute), a center focused on military technical information, especially on the capabilities of foreign countries, which potentially includes research in the cyber field.


Finally, it is necessary to remember that the GRU is one more piece – important, very important, but one more piece – in the cyber structure of the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD); thus, in addition to the previous ones in the Russian Armed Forces, other Military Units whose work has something to do with the cyber field in question; some of them, also on the basis of the information available in public sources, are the following:

  • Military Unit 31659, we do not know if it is linked to the GRU or directly to the Russian MOD, but it is a recipient of items for the cyber protection (for example, through antivirus software) of the MOD. Personnel of this unit have participated in public scientific publications related to cybersecurity, especially in the defensive and protection field (such as the detection of anomalies).
  • Military Unit 01168 (27th Central Research Institute), created in 1954 and converted into CRI in 1961, was the first Soviet data center ([2]). It is not a military unit of the GRU but belongs directly to the Russian Ministry of Defense and according to open sources has worked on disinformation through the Internet.
  • Military Unit 96010 (Federal Service for Technical and Export Control, FSTEC), which controls the export of sensitive technology and protects computer networks and systems ([2]).
  • Military Units 21882, 77111 and 33872, which make up the electronic warfare structure of the MOD.
  • Military Unit 40056 of the Russian MOD, a curious Unit known as “Main Directorate of Underwater Research”, which analyzes, among others, foreign civil capabilities in underwater cabling ([4]) and develops its own capabilities to violate said wiring.

References

[1] Desmond Ball, Robert Windrem. Soviet signals intelligence (SIGINT): Organization and management. Intelligence and National Security. Volumen 4, Issue 4. 1989.

[2] Jeffrey Carr. Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld. 2nd edition. Ed. O’Reilly, 2011.

[3] RFE/RL. Investigative Report: On The Trail Of The 12 Indicted Russian Intelligence Officers. July, 2018. https://www.rferl.org/a/investigative-report-on-the-trail-of-the-12-indicted-russian-intelligence-officers/29376821.html

[4] Keir Giles. Handbook of Russian Information Warfare. NATO Defense College. November, 2016.

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