Massive cyberattack takes down Ukraine government websites
Several Ukrainian government websites are currently inaccessible after the country was hit with a massive cyberattack earlier today. Among affected websites are official government sites, including the Foreign Ministry and Education Ministry. For a short period of time, the Foreign Ministry’s website displayed a message warning Ukrainian citizens that their personal data has been leaked, a claim the government has denied. The message has since been taken down, and some affected sites have been taken offline while the cyberattack is under investigation.
“Ukrainian! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network. All data on your computer is being erased and won’t be recoverable. All information about you has become public, fear and expect the worst. This is being done to you for the your past, present and future,” is the message that greeted those visiting Ukraine’s foreign Ministry website for a short while today. The message was written in Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish. The image displayed the Ukrainian flag, map, and symbol of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army crossed out.
The affected government websites were recovered soon after the attack but some continue to be down while authorities investigate the incident. However, the government has denied any claims that personal information was exposed during the attack.
“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. Our specialists have already started restoring the work of IT systems, and the cyberpolice has opened an investigation,” Oleg Mikolenko, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a tweet.
No cybercrime gang has claimed responsibility yet but there are speculations that Russia is likely to be involved. With current tensions between Ukraine and Russia over the latter’s gathering of troops near the border, some believe this cyberattack is yet another tactic used by Russia to put pressure on Ukraine. Russia is yet to respond to these claims.
This is not the first time Ukraine has blamed Russia for a cyberattack. In 2015, suspected Russian hackers attacked Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. The country’s power grid was targeted, and the attack left tens of thousands of Ukrainians without power and heat in the middle of winter. Russia has declared numerous times that they do not use cyberweapons offensively but the country does not discourage “patriotic hackers”.
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