Ukraine: Russia Behind Cyberattack 01/16 10:03
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine said Sunday that Russia was behind a
cyberattack that defaced its government websites and alleged that Russia is
engaged in an increasing "hybrid war" against its neighbor.
The statement from the Ministry of Digital Development came a day after
Microsoft said dozens of computer systems at an unspecified number of Ukrainian
government agencies had been infected with destructive malware disguised as
ransomware. That disclosure suggested the attention-grabbing defacement attack
on official websites last week was a diversion.
"All evidence indicates that Russia is behind the cyberattack. Moscow
continues to wage a hybrid war and is actively building up its forces in the
information and cyberspaces," the ministry statement said.
The attack comes as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms and
diplomatic talks to resolve the tense standoff appear stalled.
Microsoft said in a short blog post Saturday that it first detected the
malware on Thursday. That would coincide with the attack that simultaneously
took some 70 Ukrainian government websites temporarily offline.
Microsoft said in a different, technical post that the affected systems
"span multiple government, non-profit, and information technology
organizations." It said it did not know how many more organizations in Ukraine
or elsewhere might be affected but said it expected to learn of more infections.
A top private sector cybersecurity executive in Kyiv, Oleh Derevianko, told
The Associated Press that the intruders penetrated the government networks
through a shared software supplier in a supply-chain attack like the 2020
SolarWinds Russian cyberespionage campaign that targeted the U.S. government.
In 2017, Russia targeted Ukraine with one of the most damaging cyberattacks
on record with the NotPetya virus, causing more than $10 billion in damage
globally. That virus, also disguised as ransomware, was a so-called "wiper"
that erased entire networks.
In Friday's mass web defacement, a message left by the attackers claimed
they had destroyed data and placed it online, which Ukrainian authorities said
had not happened.
The message told Ukrainians to "be afraid and expect the worst."