A series of cyberattacks on Tuesday blew the websites of the Ukrainian army, the defence ministry and leading banks. Still, there was no evidence the distributed-denial-of-service attacks might be a smokescreen for more severe and adverse cyber mischief.
At least 10 Ukrainian websites were inaccessible due to the attacks, encompassing the defence, foreign and culture ministries and Ukraine’s two largest state lenders. In such seizures, websites are barraged with a storm of junk data packets, rendering them inaccessible.
Victor Zhora, a top Ukrainian cyberdefense official said, “We don’t have any information of other disruptive actions that (could) be hidden by this DDoS attack.” He explained emergency response teams were acting to cut off the attackers and recover services.
Customers at Ukraine’s largest state-owned bank, Privatbank, and the state-owned Sberbank noted crises with online payments and the banks’ apps. Among the attackers’ targets was the hosting provider for Ukraine’s army and Privatbank, announced Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at the network management corporation Kentik Inc.
“There is no threat to depositors’ funds,” Zhora’s agency, the Ukrainian Information Ministry’s Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security, announced in a statement. Nor did the invasion affect the information of Ukraine’s military forces, let out Zhora. It was too early to say who was behind the attack, he further asserted.
The ministry statement indicated Russian involvement: “It is possible that the aggressor resorted to tactics of petty mischief because his aggressive plans aren’t working overall,” the Ukrainian statement declared. Quick attribution in cyberattacks is generally risky, as aggressors often try to protect their tracks.“We need to analyse logs from IT providers,” Zhora announced.
Oleh Derevianko, a major private sector expert and founder of the ISSP cybersecurity company, announced Ukrainians are always anxious that such “noisy” cyberattacks could be disguising something more sinister.
Increasing fears about a Russian invasion of Ukraine eased slightly as Russia delivered signals Tuesday that it might be grabbing back from the brink, but Western powers urged for proof. The cyber invasion is nevertheless typical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who prefers to try to keep his opponents off-balance.
Ukraine has been prone to a steady diet of Russian aggression in cyberspace since 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and supported separatists in eastern Ukraine.