Tech UPTechnologyWho is behind the cyber attacks on Ukraine?

Who is behind the cyber attacks on Ukraine?

Ukraine has been hit by a barrage of cyberattacks, which its government says are on a completely different level than anything previously detected. A few days ago, before dawn, the websites of several Ukrainian banks and government departments became inaccessible. At the same time, it was discovered that a new cyber attack was being used against Ukrainian organizations that destroys all data on infected devices.

The incident represents the third wave of attacks against Ukraine this year and the most sophisticated to date. The latest attack began a few weeks ago, when internet connectivity company NetBlocks tweeted about the outages, saying the incident seemed quite destructive due to multiple DDoS attacks.

The war in Ukraine is also being waged on the Internet

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are designed to take a website offline by flooding it with large numbers of requests until it fails. NetBlocks data indicates that the wave of DDoS attacks in Ukraine began before the Russian invasion and has been intensifying during those months. It’s not all bad news though, as the country’s military and banking websites have seen a very rapid recovery, likely due to preparedness and increased ability to implement protocols and firewalls against malicious attacks.

The dreaded “cleaner” virus

At the beginning of the intensive wave of cyber attacks, Ukraine’s cyber security experts claimed that they had recorded a destructive form of attack on computer systems using sophisticated malware known as “wiper”. The team says the malware showed a creation timestamp for December 28, 2021, implying the attack may have been planned since then.

Last week, a similar attack took a smaller number of websites in the country offline, and cyber authorities in the UK, US and European Union were quick to blame that attack on Russian hackers under direct orders from the Kremlin.

However, Moscow denied involvement, and Russia has not been officially blamed for the latest attacks. Last January, the Ukrainian government accused Russia of being behind another, much smaller and less sophisticated DDoS wave of attacks via the fearsome cleaner malware.

Some affected websites were replaced with a warning to Ukrainians to prepare for the worst. DDoS attacks have been used in various campaigns as part of Russia’s so-called hybrid warfare tactics, which combine cyber attacks with traditional military activity.

DDoS attacks have already hit Georgia and Crimea during raids in 2008 and 2014, respectively. The EU, UK and Ukraine blamed Russian government hackers for attacks on electrical substations that led to widespread power outages in 2015 and 2016.

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