(Kiev) On Friday Ukraine was hit by a large-scale cyber attack, but officials confirmed that they did not see significant damage after this occupation of unknown origin amid renewed tensions with Russia.
Released at 6:40 p.m.
The EU immediately condemned the computer sabotage, confirming that its diplomatic leader, Joseph Borel, had mobilized all means to assist Kiev.
Ukraine and its Western allies have repeatedly accused Russian pirate groups of carrying out coordinated attacks against their strategic bases and infrastructure, which Moscow denies.
At noon on Friday, the AFP noted that the sites of several Ukrainian ministries were inaccessible, including in foreign and emergency situations.
“The sites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several government agencies are temporarily inactive,” the Ukrainian diplomatic spokesman said in the morning.
Before the Ukrainian diplomatic website was made inaccessible, the perpetrators of the attack posted a threatening message on its homepage – in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.
“Ukrainians, be afraid and get ready for the worst. All your personal data has been uploaded on the Internet”, the message reads with several logos, including the Ukrainian flag.
However, officials have denied that the information was stolen.
The Ukrainian intelligence services (SBU) assured that “according to available information, the content of the sites has not been altered and no personal data has been leaked.”
“Most of the affected government resources have already been restored, while others will be restored very soon,” they continued, indicating that sites have been deliberately shut down to prevent “attacks from spreading.”
The origin of this hack was not immediately known and the Ukrainian authorities did not blame anyone.
But this comes amid growing tensions between Ukraine and neighboring Russia, with Kiev and its Western allies accusing it of plotting a new invasion of Ukrainian territory.
The large-scale computer sabotage targeting Ukrainian strategic infrastructure to destabilize the authorities is one of the scenes foreshadowed as a precursor to a classic military offensive.
Ukraine has been the target of several cyber attacks on Russia in recent years, especially in 2017 against a number of important infrastructure and in 2015 against its power network.
The U.S. Justice Department said in October it blamed six Russian military intelligence agents and others around the world for the cyber attacks.
The Russian hackers, aged between 27 and 35, are accused of carrying out operations between 2015 and 2019 from a military building nicknamed “The Tower” in Moscow “for Russia’s strategic interests”.
In Ukraine in 2015, a cyber attack caused several hours of power outages in the western part of the country. This was said to be due to Russia, but Russia never acknowledged its responsibility.
According to Kiev, several DDos (denial of service) attacks from Russia have already hit the Election Commission of Ukraine.
The attack on Friday came after several sessions between Russian and Western officials in recent days to defuse the crisis around Ukraine, with no progress.
While confirming that Moscow has no “intention” to invade its neighbor, it has pointed out that there is no point in resuming these discussions in the short term.
In this tense situation, the Russian Defense Ministry on Friday released pictures of military maneuvers involving 2,500 soldiers and 100 tanks about fifty kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
After the pro-Western revolution in 2014, Russia occupied and annexed the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine.
Moscow is widely regarded as the military and financial father of pro-Russian separatists who have been at war with Ukrainian authorities in the east of the country since 2014.