Massive Cyber ​​Attack Hits Ukrainian Government Websites As West Warns Of Conflict With Russia

Image Credit: REUTERS / Valentyn Ogirenko / Illustration

A massive cyber attack warning Ukrainians to “be afraid and hope for the worst” hit government websites Thursday night, leaving some websites inaccessible on Friday morning and prompting Kiev to open an investigation.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters it was too early to say who might be behind the attack, but said Russia had launched similar attacks in the past.
The cyberattack, which affected the Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Security and Defense Council, among others, occurs when Kiev and its allies sound the alarm about a possible new Russian military offensive against Ukraine.

“It is too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long history of Russian (cyber) attacks against Ukraine in the past,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Russia has previously denied cyberattacks against Ukraine.

“Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it,” read a message visible on the hacked government websites, written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.

“All the information about you has been made public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future.”

After a wave of inconclusive talks this week on security in Europe, the United States warned Thursday that the threat of a Russian military invasion of Ukraine was high.

Russia said the dialogue continued but reached a stalemate when it tried to persuade the West to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and rolling back decades of the alliance’s expansion in Europe, a demand Washington has called “non-initiators.”

Commenting on a cyberattack, a senior Ukrainian security official told Reuters: “All cybersecurity subjects were aware of such possible provocations by the Russian Federation. Therefore, the response to these incidents is taking place. according to the government. ”

Subsequently, the government claimed that it had restored most of the affected sites and that no personal data had been stolen. Many other government websites were suspended to prevent the attack from spreading, he said.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of war in the same year. Kiev forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The United States said on Thursday that Russia could try to create a pretext to launch a new military attack against Ukraine by comparing the situation with the circumstances of 2014.

Russia warned of possible “catastrophic consequences” if there is no agreement on what the Kremlin called the security red lines, but said Moscow had not abandoned diplomacy and would even accelerate it.

The Russian comments reflect a trend in which Moscow claims to want to exercise diplomacy, but rejects calls to reverse the training of its troops near Ukraine and warns of unspecified consequences for Western security if its demands are not heard.

Ukraine has suffered a series of cyberattacks since 2014, cutting off power supplies, freezing supermarket checkouts and forcing authorities to back the hryvnia currency after the bank’s computer systems failed. Ukraine believes the attacks are part of what it calls Russia’s “hybrid war” against Ukraine and its allies.

In 2017, a virus called NotPetya by some experts hit Ukraine and spread around the world, crippling thousands of machines while spreading to dozens of countries.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement, dismissing “general unfounded accusations.”

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