A number of Ukrainian government websites have gone offline or malfunctioning since Wednesday as a result of a mass distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that has infected hundreds of computers with destructive malware. According to Mykhailo Fedorov, head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, the cyberattack began at about 4 pm on Wednesday and has since impacted banks, government websites. The extent of damage is yet to be ascertained. The Website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet of Ministers and Rada, the country’s parliament are some of the websites that have been marked offline due to the cyber-attack and military invasion. Fedorov revealed that officials have attempted to switch traffic elsewhere in order to minimize damage.
Although the source of the attack remains unconfirmed, the outages persist as Russian troops are positioned around the Ukrainian borders. U.S President Joe Biden on Tuesday disclosed that Russia has begun “an invasion” plan. This plan began after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into two pro-Russian breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, and announced sanctions on Russian banks, the country’s sovereign debt and several individuals that chose to be close to the Russian government.
In addition to punishing wave of distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a military invasion in Ukraine on Thursday with explosions heard soon after in the capital Kyiv and other parts of the country, prompting outrage from Joe Biden who warned of a “catastrophic loss of life.” Gunfire rattled out near the main airport and sirens blared across the city.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a state of emergency and martial law had been declared and he appeals to world leaders to impose all possible sanctions on Russia, and its president -Putin, who wants to destroy the Ukrainian state and its peace. Putin has justified the attack as “a special military operation” to protect people, including Russian citizens who had been subjected to “genocide” in Ukraine, an accusation the West has long described as absurd propaganda. For this, Putin has ordered “the demilitarization and demassification of Ukraine.”
According to reports from Al Jazeera, there have been explosions in the capital and power had been cut since dawn. This appears to be a “full-scale attack” as the presence of “chaos” persists in the city centre. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. Russia’s defence ministry has revealed that military infrastructure at Ukrainian air bases has been taken out and degraded its air defences. Ukraine has since closed its airspace to civilian flights citing a high risk to safety, while Russia suspended domestic flights at airports near its border with Ukraine until March 2.
At about this same time last week, a cyber-attack was reported in Ukraine. This cyber-attack reportedly took down four government websites which include the Ukraine Ministry of Defense and other local banks. Ukraine’s Cyber Police and residents continue to receive messages saying that ATMs in the country did not work, though it was unclear if any ATMs were actually affected. The White House has since condemned and attributed the cyber-attack of last week to Russia. However, Russia has since denied responsibility or involvement in the attack that has crippled the Ukrainian government websites.
An official statement by The United States, White House says “we consider these further incidents to be consistent with the type of activity Russia would carry out in a bid to destabilize Ukraine. We are in communication with Ukraine regarding their cyber-related needs, including as recently as today.”