Cyber Attack downs Dozen Ukrainian Government Websites

Screenshot of the hackers' message

Dozens of Ukrainian government sites were hit by a cyberattack, with hackers warning people to “be afraid and expect the worst.”

The attack took over websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet of ministers and security and defense council, posting a message on screens in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish that read: “Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it.”

“All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future,” the hackers said. As a result of a massive cyber attack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Twitter. “Our specialists have already started restoring the work of IT systems, and the cyberpolice has opened an investigation,” said Oleg Nikolenko, spokesperson for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine.

Officials in Kyiv have not said who is behind the breach, but in the past, Russian hackers have been blamed for similar attacks in Ukraine, according to reports. It’s worth noting that similar cyber tactics were employed against Georgian government websites in 2008 during a brief conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi over South Ossetia. Additionally, in 2015, Sandworm, a Russian hacking group, hit Ukraine’s power grid, reported NPR.

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice charged six hackers believed to be officers in Russia’s military intelligence branch in connection with computer intrusions against Ukraine and Georgia. The attacks come at a time of heightened tensions with Moscow, as about 100,000 Russian troops backed by tanks and artillery have massed on the border with Ukraine. However, Kremlin has denied any plan to invade Ukraine.

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