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Ukraine Generals Announce Russia is Behind Recent Cyberattack

Ukraine said on Sunday that Russia was behind a cyberattack that hacked into its official websites, and that Russia is increasingly engaging in a “hybrid war” with its neighbor.

The declaration came a day after Microsoft said that dozens of computer systems at an undefined number of Ukrainian government entities had been attacked with devastating malware masquerading as ransomware. That information showed that the attention-getting defacement attack on government websites last week was a ruse.

“All evidence points to Russia as the perpetrator of the hack.” Moscow is “continuing to conduct a hybrid war” and “actively building up its troops in the information and cyberspaces,” according to a statement released by the ministry.

The strike comes as Russia threatens to invade Ukraine, and diplomatic efforts to end the tense stalemate appear to be stopped.

Microsoft originally discovered the spyware on Thursday, according to a brief blog post published on Saturday. This would correlate with an assault that knocked off 70 Ukrainian government websites at the same time.

The compromised systems “cross several government, non-profit, and information technology organizations,” Microsoft wrote in a separate technical post. It claimed it didn’t know how many additional organizations in Ukraine or abroad would be compromised, but that further infections were likely.

U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that the US and private-sector businesses were still investigating the origins of the assaults. He said that the US has been warning about the prospect of Russian cyberattacks for months and has been working with Ukraine to upgrade its defenses.

On CBS television’s “Face the Nation,” he added, “This is part of the Russian playbook.”

According to Oleh Derevianko, a leading private sector cybersecurity leader in Kyiv, the attackers gained access to government networks through a common software supplier in a supply-chain assault similar to the 2020 SolarWinds Russian cyberespionage effort that targeted the US government.

With the NotPetya virus, Russia attacked Ukraine with one of the most catastrophic cyberattacks on record, causing more than $10 billion in worldwide damage. That malware, which was also known as ransomware, was a “wiper” that wiped out whole networks.

A note left by the attackers in Friday’s huge web defacement claimed the attackers had destroyed data and posted it online, which Ukrainian police denied.

“Be frightened and anticipate the worst,” the letter warned Ukrainians.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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