Ukraine has suffered a massive cyberattack on Friday that has impacted at least 70 government websites, as well as the US, UK and Swedish embassies.
The cyberattack comes amid intense tensions with Russia, with has amassed 100,000 troops on the border. President Putin has deployed more troops as well, Reuters reported, citing released TV pictures on Friday.
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.
In the first nine months of 2021, Ukraine’s SBU security service said it had “neutralised” 1,200 cyberattacks or incidents.
Now suspected Russian hackers have launched another massive cyberattack, that has knocked offline many government websites, including the ministry of foreign affairs and the education ministry.
Alleged Russian hackers left a message on the foreign ministry website, according to reports.
It said: “Ukrainians! … All information about you has become public. Be afraid and expect worse. It’s your past, present and future.”
The message reproduced the Ukrainian flag and map crossed out.
It mentioned the Ukrainian insurgent army, or UPA, which fought against the Soviet Union during the second world war. There was also a reference to “historical land”.
The latest cyberattack comes after hours of talks between Russia and NATO concluded, with no agreements or breakthroughs.
Russia has denied it has any plans to invade Ukraine (despite placing 100,000 troops on the border) but says it could take unspecified military action unless demands are met, including a promise by the NATO alliance never to admit Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday Russia hoped security talks with the United States would resume, but this would depend on Washington’s response to Moscow’s proposals.
“We categorically will not accept the appearance of NATO right on our borders, especially so given the current course of the Ukrainian leadership,” he said.
Meanwhile the Ukrainian government said it had restored most of the affected sites and no personal data had been stolen.
A number of other government websites had been suspended to prevent the attack from spreading.
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