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Ukrainian banks, govt websites hit by wave of cyber attacks




IN the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several Ukrainian government websites went offline after a cyber attack prompted by Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on Thursday morning.

Four major websites, two relating to the military and others belonging to two of the country’s largest banks, were knocked offline by hackers who flooded them with web traffic.

DDoS attacks use bots to flood an online service or server, overwhelming it until it crashes, preventing access for legitimate users.


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Head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov confirmed the development on his Telegram channel saying officials were attempting to switch traffic elsewhere to minimise the damage.

The country’s Cyber Police announced a mysterious new scam that flooded Ukrainians’ cellphones with text messages that ATMs no longer worked in the country.

It was unclear whether any ATMs were actually disabled.

There are no indication bank accounts were affected, and most systems were restored within several hours, Fedorov stated.

Other websites affected by the cyber attack include the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet of Ministers, and Rada, the country’s parliament website.

The malicious code affected “large organisations” in Ukraine, according to cyber security firm ESET, which has multiple clients in the country.
The hacking tool, allegedly created two months ago, “was deployed only today and we have seen it only in Ukraine,” said Jean-Ian Boutin, head of threat research at ESET tweeted.
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In January, the Ukrainian government accused Russia of a DDoS cyber attack affecting about 70 government websites, while some were replaced with a warning to Ukrainians to “prepare for the worst”.

But Russia has denied being involved – and no official blame has been levelled at Russia for the latest attacks.

The hacking incidents are coming on the heels of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’s last-minute appeal to Russia to curtail military action.
“Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”
“If indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart: President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine,” he told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday night in New York.

DDoS attacks have been a part of Russia’s “hybrid warfare” tactics, merging cyberattacks with traditional military activity.

DDoS attacks hit Georgia and Crimea during Russia’s incursions in 2008 and 2014 respectively.

Author profile

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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