Ukraine claims to have “evidence” that Russia was behind a massive cyber-attack last week that took offline important government websites, while Microsoft cautions that the incident might be even worse than initially imagined.
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are rising, with Kiev accusing Moscow of massing troops on Ukraine’s border in preparation for an invasion. Some analysts believe the cyber-attack is a precursor to a military assault.
On Friday, the United States accused Russia of using explosives-trained saboteurs in a “false flag” operation that might be used as a pretext to attack its pro-western neighbor.
“All the evidence points to Russia being behind the cyber-attack,” the Ukrainian digital transformation ministry said in a statement. “Moscow is continuing to wage a hybrid war.”
Ukrainians should not be worried, according to the government, since their personal information will be secured. The attack’s goal is “not only to intimidate society but also to destabilize the situation in Ukraine by halting public sector activity and crushing Ukrainians’ trust in the authorities.”
The Kremlin denied the charges, which stated that there was no proof that Russia was behind the attack.
“We have nothing to do with it. Russia has nothing to do with these cyber-attacks,” Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said. “Ukrainians are blaming everything on Russia, even their bad weather in their country,” he said in English.
Late Friday, Kyiv said it had discovered preliminary evidence that Russian security services may have been behind the cyber-attack. According to SBU services, the attacks in the early hours of Friday targeted a total of 70 official websites.
On Sunday, Microsoft cautioned that the cyber-attack might be more damaging and damage more organizations than previously thought. The business said it was still looking into the virus and warned that it might shut down the government’s digital infrastructure.
“The malware, which is designed to look like ransomware but lacking a ransom recovery mechanism, is intended to be destructive and designed to render targeted devices inoperable rather than to obtain a ransom,” Microsoft said in a blogpost.
“Our investigation teams have identified the malware on dozens of impacted systems, and that number could grow as our investigation continues,” Microsoft said.
“These systems span multiple government, non-profit, and information technology organizations, all based in Ukraine. We do not know the current stage of this attacker’s operational cycle or how many other victim organizations may exist in Ukraine or other geographic locations.”