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.
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.
Breaking. #ESETResearch discovered a new data wiper malware used in Ukraine today. ESET telemetry shows that it was installed on hundreds of machines in the country. This follows the DDoS attacks against several Ukrainian websites earlier today 1/n
— ESET research (@ESETresearch) February 23, 2022
Other websites affected by the cyber attack include the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet of Ministers, and Rada, the country’s parliament website.
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.
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.
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.