A major cyber attack shut down Ukrainian government websites on Thursday night and Friday morning. It is a warning to Ukraine to prepare for the worst. Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tell Reuters It is still unknown who the culprit is, but it can be compared to previous attacks from Russia.
The attack hit, among others, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Council of Ministers, and the Security and Defense Council. The websites read the following in Ukrainian, Polish and Russian:
“Ukraine! All your personal data has been uploaded to a public network. All data on the computer has been destroyed, and it is impossible to recover. All information about you has been announced, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future. For Volyn, OUN, UPA and Galitsia and Polesye and Historic Lands.” Refers to highly nationalistic organizations and regions of Ukraine.
Most of the sites are now backed up and running. Also, no personal data was stolen. Other government websites have been taken offline to prevent the spread of the cyber attack.
Tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine
The attack is one among many escalating tensions between Russia and the former part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine. In December, the United States and the United Kingdom already sent electronic warfare experts to the country for this.
Western countries also accuse Russia of deploying tanks, weapons and about 100,000 soldiers near the Ukrainian border. NATO says this is preparation for an invasion. Moscow denies this.
Earlier this week, the United States and other NATO members met with Russia to ease tensions. But the three rounds of talks in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna failed. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said he did not see any reason to resume talks with the West.
Hacker gang members arrested
On the morning of Thursday’s cyber attack Ukrainian authorities arrested several more people who are said to be members of the hacker group. The suspects are said to have attacked more than 50 companies in the US and Europe using ransomware. As a result, more than a million dollars in ransom was lost.