Ukraine has 'evidence' Russia behind cyberattack

By: AFP
Published: 03:20 AM, 17 Jan, 2022
Ukraine has 'evidence' Russia behind cyberattack
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Ukraine said Sunday it had evidence that Russia was behind a massive cyberattack that knocked out key government websites this past week, as Microsoft warned the hack could be far worse than first thought.

Tensions are at an all-time high between Ukraine and Russia, which Kyiv accuses of having massed troops on its border ahead of a possible invasion. Some analysts fear the cyberattack could be the prelude to a military attack. 

On Friday, Washington also accused Russia of sending saboteurs trained in explosives to stage an incident that could be the pretext to invade its pro-Western neighbor. 

"All the evidence points to Russia being behind the cyberattack," the Ukrainian digital transformation ministry said in a statement.

"Moscow is continuing to wage a hybrid war."

The purpose of the attack said the ministry, "is not only to intimidate society. But to also destabilize the situation in Ukraine, halting the work of the public sector and crushing Ukrainians' trust in the authorities".

Earlier the Kremlin insisted there was no evidence Russia was behind the attack.

"We have nothing to do with it," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told CNN. "Russia has nothing to do with these cyberattacks.

"Ukrainians are blaming everything on Russia, even their bad weather in their country," he said in English.

Kyiv said late Friday it had uncovered the first indications that Russian security services could have been behind the cyberattack.

Ukraine's SBU security service said the attacks, in the early hours of Friday, had targeted a total of 70 government websites.

The website of the foreign ministry for a time displayed a message in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish that read: "Be afraid and expect the worst."

Within hours of the breach, the security service said access to most affected sites had been restored and that the fallout was minimal.

But Microsoft warned Sunday that the cyberattack could prove destructive and affect more organizations than initially feared.

The US software giant said it was continuing to analyze the malware and warned it could render government digital infrastructure inoperable.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.