On Friday, hackers gained access to approximately 70 Ukrainian government websites. The sites were brought down, with a threatening message placed on the country’s Foreign Ministry website. Ukraine authorities suspect that Russia is tied to 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,” said Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry. “Our specialists have already started restoring the work of IT systems, and the cyberpolice has opened an investigation.”
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 Nikolenko (@OlegNikolenko_) January 14, 2022
A message was posted on the foreign ministry website in three languages.
“Ukrainians! All your personal data was uploaded to the internet,” the message read. “All data on the computer is being destroyed. All information about you became public. Be afraid and expect the worst.” According to The New York Times, the message also raised a number of historical grievances between Poland and Ukraine.
NEWS IN KYIV: Several Ukrainian government websites down due to a major a cyberattack. Below is the @MFA_Ukraine website now. It reads in part: "Ukrainians!…All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect worse." Sites of MOD and Education ministry also down. pic.twitter.com/3lbA06Q3Fl
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) January 14, 2022
“The attack came within hours of the conclusion of talks this week between Russia and the United States and NATO in Europe that were intended to find a diplomatic resolution after Russia massed tens of thousands of troops near the border with Ukraine,” The Times added. “Moscow has demanded sweeping security concessions, including a promise not to accept Ukraine into the NATO alliance.”
The Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security, a Ukrainian government agency which aims to counter Russian disinformation, suggested that the attack was related to the ongoing talks with Russia.
“We have not seen such a significant attack on government organizations in some time,” it said. “We suggest the current attack is tied to the recent failure of Russian negotiations on Ukraine’s future in NATO.”
“NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, condemned the attacks. Borrell said the EU’s political and security committee and cyber units would meet to decide how to respond and to support Kyiv,” The Guardian reported.
“We are going to mobilize all our resources to help Ukraine to tackle this. Sadly, we knew it could happen,” he said. “It’s difficult to say [who is behind it]. I can’t blame anybody as I have no proof. But we can imagine.”
Sweden’s foreign minister, Ann Linde, called for western powers to resist Russian aggression, noting that Sweden stood in solidarity with Ukraine. “We have to be very firm in our messages to Russia, that if there are attacks against Ukraine, we will be very harsh and very strong and robust in our response,” she said.
“It could be just a regular information operation (seeking) to undermine the government’s capability and to create and enhance uncertainty,” said Oleh Derevianko, a “leading private sector expert and founder of the ISSP cybersecurity firm” according to ABC News.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
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