Ukraine strikes back? Russian government websites have been knocked offline in suspected cyberattack, amid Ukraine invasion
A number of Russian government websites have gone dark on Thursday, hours after its troops launched a widespread invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin’s website (Kremlin.ru) has gone offline on Thursday to visitors, and similar problems have been reported other official Russian websites, including its State Duma and the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, Motherboard has reported.
It comes after repeated and ongoing cyberattacks on Ukraine websites and infrastructure, which is being blamed on Russia.
Hours before Russia began its invasion, the official websites of the Ukrainian parliament, government and foreign ministry were knocked offline, in what the country said was a cyber attack.
At the time of writing, it is unclear why the Russian government websites are down.
Attempts were made to access them from both Russian and other countries IP addresses.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had early Thursday morning declared the beginning of a “special military operation” in its neighbouring country.
This came after Moscow on Monday recognised the separatist Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, and then sent in Russian combat troops as “peacekeepers”.
Russian forces then used these locations, as well as other border areas, as the launchpads for the invasion of Ukraine proper on Thursday morning.
Last week Ukrainian government institutions including its Ministry of Defence suffered a DDoS attack.
Bellingcat investigators said the attack on the Ukrainian government websites was linked to Russian GRU hackers.
Last month the country suffered a massive cyberattack that impacted at least 70 government websites, as well as the US, UK and Swedish embassies.
That Ukraine cyberattack warned the local public to “be afraid and expect the worst”, which Ukraine at the time publicly stated was orchestrated by Russia.
Russia of course has invaded Ukraine previously, when it illegally seized and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Prior to that attack Russia engaged in its usual practice of hybrid or asymmetric warfare, and was accused of launching an assortment of cyberattacks to destabilise communications and spread confusion whilst its troops overran the region.