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Ukraine reports hacking of government websites


The websites of several Ukrainian ministries were defaced and paralyzed overnight. It is still unclear who the attackers are. However, they left a threat.

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The websites of the cabinet, education, foreign affairs and disaster management ministries were hacked overnight

Photo: imago stock&people / imago/Michael Weber

Several Ukrainian government websites were the target of hacker attacks on Friday night.

The Ministry of Education and Research in Kiev said on its Facebook page that the ministry's website was temporarily down after the "widespread" attack.

The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not be accessed either and was still displaying an error message on Friday morning.

The websites of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the cabinet were also unavailable.

Attackers left a threatening message in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish on some of the attacked sites.

It stated that all data uploaded by citizens to the sites would be made public.

"Be afraid and expect the worst," the hackers wrote, according to Ukrainian media reports.

It is not yet clear who is behind the attacks.

A State Department spokesman said it was too early to draw any conclusions, "but there is a long history of Russian attacks on Ukraine."

The attacks appear to be so-called defacements, i.e. disfigurements, or DDoS attacks. Websites are superficially taken over or paralyzed, but this does not necessarily involve deeper penetration into the underlying systems and tapping of data. Such actions can therefore also be carried out by individual hackers without special skills and do not require a larger state hacker unit in the background.

The attacks came against the background of heightened tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine conflict. According to US information, Russia has massed 100,000 soldiers on the border with Ukraine in recent weeks. On Tuesday, Russia began military exercises with tanks and live ammunition. This feeds fears in the West that the Russian army could invade the neighboring country. Moscow denies this and accuses the government in Kiev of provocations. Several diplomatic crisis talks in the past few days were intended to ease tensions, but failed to bring about a breakthrough.

Brussels no longer even considers it out of the question that Putin could seek armed conflict with the West beyond Ukraine. As insiders reported to SPIEGEL, fears are now circulating at NATO that the Russian armed forces could use their recently massively increased presence in the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic and the Arctic to strike on a broad front - even against NATO countries. In such a case, massive disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks are to be expected.

In the past, hacker groups assigned by experts to the Russian secret service have carried out major attacks on Ukraine on several occasions.

Among other things, they attacked the power grid in 2015 during political tensions between the two countries, leaving more than 200,000 people temporarily without electricity.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-01-14

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