US, UK blame Russia for cyberattacks on Ukraine websites

Deepak Gupta February 19, 2022
Updated 2022/02/19 at 12:17 PM

Russia is responsible for the cyberattacks that took down the websites of Ukraine’s government agencies and major banks in January, according to the White House. Anne Neuberger, the government’s deputy national security adviser, he said the government has “technical information linking the Russian Chief Intelligence Directorate or GRU” to the hacks. Neuberger added that “GRU infrastructure was seen transmitting large volumes of communication to Ukraine-based IP addresses and domains.”

According PAN and Reuters, Britain has also publicly attributed the incident to Russia, saying the country’s GRU military intelligence agency is almost certainly involved. While the attacks managed to bring down the targeted Ukrainian sites, Neuberger said they had “limited impact” thanks to the country’s authorities who quickly protected and restored them.

Ukraine’s defense and foreign ministries were among the affected websites, and a message in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish left by the attackers on the latter was translated as: “Ukrainians! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore them.” The message also made reference to the “historical land” and showed crossed-out versions of Ukraine’s map and flag.

The Ukrainian Information Ministry said at the time that there were early indications that Russia carried out the attacks. Furthermore, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy also suggested that references to Ukrainian ultranationalist groups were just an attempt by the Russians to mask their footprint.

Neuberger said the White House is publicly denouncing the Kremlin because “[t]The global community must be prepared to shed light on malicious cyber activities and hold actors accountable for any and all disruptive or destructive cyber activity.” the future followed by an invasion of Ukraine. President Biden announced on Friday the US obtained intelligence showing that Russia’s Vladimir Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine in the coming days.

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