Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Ukraine said it was the target of a “massive cyber attack” after a handful of government websites stopped functioning on Friday.

“Ukrainians! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network, ”reads a message that was temporarily posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. “All data on your computer is deleted and will not be recoverable. All information about you has become public, fear and expect the worst. ”

The incident follows tense negotiations this week between the US, NATO and Western allies and Moscow aimed at deterring Russian President Vladimir Putin from opting for a deeper invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials recently warned that cyberattacks and other attempts to destabilize the country internally are likely to be a prelude to further aggression.

Authorities did not blame Russia or any other potential culprits for Friday’s attack on government websites and other services.

“As a result of a massive cyber attack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies have been temporarily shut down,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said. “Our specialists are already working to restore the work of IT systems, and the cyber police have opened an investigation.”

The message left by hackers, posted in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish, added: “This is for your past, present and future. For Volyn, for the OUN UPA [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists/Ukrainian Insurgent Army], for Halychyna, for Polissya and for historical lands. ”

Comments at the end of the post referred to Ukrainian insurgent fighters during World War II and apparently punishing Ukraine for ethnic clashes and atrocities. Poland and Ukraine accuse each other of committing atrocities during the period in the region, which the countries have been chasing for centuries.

The hackers’ placement also included disfigured images of Ukraine’s national symbols, with a line across the flag, coat of arms and a map of the country.

It was not immediately clear whether the hackers were Polish and whether it was an attempt to divide between Ukraine and Poland, one of Kiev’s strongest European allies in the face of Russian aggression.

The EU’s Political and Security Committee and cyber units will meet to see how to help Kiev, said Josep Borrell, Brussels’ top diplomat.

“We are going to mobilize all our resources to help Ukraine tackle this cyber attack. “Unfortunately, we knew it could happen,” Borrell told Reuters during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brest, western France. “It’s difficult to say [who is behind it]. I can not blame anyone, because I have no evidence, but we can imagine. “

Ukraine’s SBU State Security Service said in a statement that “provocative messages have been posted on the main page of these sites”.

“The content of the sites has not changed, and the leakage of personal data, according to preliminary information, has not occurred,” the SBU added.

Oleksiy Danylov, Ukraine’s national security chief, late last year told the Financial Times that Ukraine has faced “continuous” Russian cyber attacks and other attempts to destabilize the country since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and orchestrated a proxy-separatist war in its eastern regions.

“Domestic destabilization is Russia’s immediate goal” before a possible deeper military invasion is unleashed, he said, “first through cyber warfare, which is causing an energy crisis and information warfare”.

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