Russian Government Behind Ukraine Cyber Attacks, Says UK & US

Both the UK and US have accused Russia of perpetrating recent cyber attacks which struck the Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and banking system on February 15.

According to Anne Neuberger, the White House’s chief cyber official, the Russian government is “responsible for widespread cyber attacks on Ukrainian banks this week.”

Given Russia’s immense build-up of troops across the Ukrainian border, and the urgency of the situation, US officials made the decision to quickly go public with info on the cyber attack, Neuberger said.

She also spoke of how US experts had obtained data showing that infrastructure linked with Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency was seen “transmitting high volumes of communication to Ukraine-based IP addresses and domains.”

During the stateside announcement, British officials said that the GRU was “almost certainly involved” in the DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack, a cyber sabotage tactic employed to overwhelm websites with floods of data.

A statement from Britain’s Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office read:

“The attack showed a continued disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty. This activity is yet another example of Russia’s aggressive acts against Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy of the US denied that Russia had any involvement in the cyber attacks, with the embassy recently tweeting:

“We categorically reject these baseless statements of the administration and note that Russia has nothing to do with the mentioned events and in principle has never conducted and does not conduct any ‘malicious’ operations in cyberspace.”

In recent years, US and western officials/experts have accused Russia of various hacking efforts, citing the attacks as being either stated-backed or the work of criminal groups.

The Kremlin has continually denied any state involvement regarding the attacks.

On February 15, the Ukrainian government stated that the websites of its armed forces, several ministries and banks had been paralyzed by a cyber attack.

The Defense Ministry tweeted that its website most likely “suffered DDoS attacks when an excessive number of requests per second was recorded.”

The Associated Press reported that the ministry was one of the ten (known) Ukrainian websites – which included the Foreign Ministry and Culture Ministry – to have been crippled by a DDoS attack.

Russian-western country relations remain tense as over 125,000 Russian troops approach the Ukrainian border.

In the meantime, the Kremlin continues to deny any plans for an invasion, while diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis between the neighbouring countries appears set to continue.


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