According to Ukraine’s digital transformation minister, the country has suffered the largest denial-of-service attack in its history. On Tuesday, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence suffered from a DDoS attack that kept users from accessing its website. Moreover, two Ukrainian banks lost access to online banking services.
It was tweeted at around 7 PM local time that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said that its website was probably being hit with s DDoS attack and that the effort to restore the service was underway. But even after four hours, the site could not be accessed.
The government suspects Russia in this scenario. The DDoS attack comes as Russia has claimed to be de-escalating potential conflict by withdrawing troops from the Ukraine border, a statement that was met with “cautious optimism” by NATO but has faced skepticism. At the same time, a DDoS attack also hit the two banks that took ATMs offline. It kept some clients from withdrawing or transferring funds online.
A statement from the Ukrainian Government’s Center for Strategic Communications reveals that PrivatBank faced a “massive DDoS attack” that halted many online banking services. Oschadbank also lost all online banking functionality, according to the statement. A few hours later, another statement from the Ukrainian government mentioned that the banks had resumed online service.
It is still not attributed to a specific actor by the Ukrainian government or US officials, but in the perspective of the ongoing military situation, many officials suspect Russian involvement.
Moreover, Matt Tait, a security analyst tweeted that the DDoS was not “part of invasion” and urged caution in reporting. Many other sources in the cybersecurity industry similarly downplayed the severity of the attack. Cyber security journalist, Kim Zetter mentioned in his tweet, “We can confirm the DDOS attacks but do not see any indication that their impact is critical…this activity could be to keep a sense of pressure on Ukraine in the face of more positive news over the past day,”
But the recently declassified intelligence suggests that Russian government hackers are likely to have already compromised critical Ukrainian infrastructure and would release much more damaging attacks in the event of an invasion, according to the reports in The Washington Post. The Post’s report cites an official familiar with the Intelligence documents to claim that Russia would be able to disrupt services like electricity, transport, finance, and telecommunications.