A massive cyber attack has reportedly hit the Ukrainian defence ministry websites and several state-backed banks. The cyber attack incident was said to have happened today as Russia announces the withdrawal of partial troops from the Ukrainian border. The defence website is down and has confirmed being attacked, the primary means of communication with the public is through Twitter and Facebook.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence made an announce via a tweet claiming that the websites were down, as its most likely being targeted by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence “The MOU website was probably attacked by DDoS. An excessive number of requests per second were recorded. Technical works on restoration of regular functioning are being carried out.”
❗️Сайт МОУ зазнав, ймовірно, DDoS-атаки: фіксувалася надмірна кількість звернень на секунду.
Проводяться техроботи з відновлення штатного функціонування.
Комунікація через сторінки в FB та Twitter, сайти АрміяInform https://t.co/ukMW41irPW та Армія FM https://t.co/IpDnBXoMXw.
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) February 15, 2022
A Ukrainian agency – the Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security, has immediately released statements stating the attack on the website of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In the statement the Ukrainan agency also disclosed that State Saving Banks, the Ukrainian PrivatBank and Oschadbank were targets of the DDoS attack.
Although PrivatBank has since denied allegations of beings targets. In a statement, the bank claimed that the reports on being cyberattacked was “untrue and misleading to our customers.” Since the unconfirmed rumours of being targets has fled the bank is said to have received several complaints from worrying customers “about misinformation about disruptions in the bank’s work.”
According to PrivatBank “We ask our clients and all citizens of Ukraine to remain calm and be guided in their decisions by information from official and verified sources.” The bank further said that “We will inform clients about any changes in our work exclusively through official banking information channels”
A fresh investigation into the attack by the Ukrainian Cyberpolice have revealed the existence of evidence claiming that unidentified individuals sent out text messages about fraudulent Ukrainian ATM failures. Although the Ukrainian government and the U.S is yet to attribute the cyber attack to any criminal group or nation but its believed that investigations are ongoing in multi-levels to reveal details of the attack. NetBlocks, an organization that sees to tracking internet outages around the world, in a statement has confirmed that the loss of service to multiple banking and online platforms currently experienced in Ukraine was “in a manner consistent with a denial of service attack.” The Ukrainian Strategic Communications Centre and Information Security has also confirmed the attacks on the country’s banks is a DDoS attack.
Today’s cyberattack comes at a time after which about 70 Ukrainian government websites have suffered being defaced and disabled in the month of January, an attack the Ukrainian government blamed Russia for. Till date the U.S. has formally attributed that attacks to no one. Several days after that attack, Microsoft went public after the discovery of malware called “WhisperGate” in the Ukrainian government systems. This Malware was said could be triggered to disable online operations at the slightest notice. Microsoft however didn’t attribute the malware attack to any nation.
Considering a number of devastating cyberattacks previously launched against Ukraine by Russia hacker and the build-up of Russian troops close to the Ukrainian border, its easy to say Russia may be behind this or have a hand it. For now those are just speculations and not fact. Though Russia received backlash heavily from international communities for the build-up of troops but plans of attacking the country has been denied.
However cybersecurity experts have said that if Russia does plan to invade Ukraine, it would undoubtedly use cyberattacks as a key part of its strategy — just as the country has done in previous military campaigns over the past decade-and-a-half, including in Georgia and the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.
According to reports, one of the most devastating attack by Russian hackers on Ukraine happened in 2015 where part of the power grid was taken down, leaving about a quarter million Ukrainians without power supply in the dead of winter. Another one is a Russian malware attack which happened in 2017, this attack resulted in disabled systems across the Ukrainian government and the private sector.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the UK and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have both issued warnings about the potential for more cyberattacks against Ukraine and its allies.