On Friday, Ukraine was the victim of a ‘massive cyber attack’, with at least 10 government websites, including those at the foreign affairs and education ministries, not functioning. Although it is unknown from where the cyberattack originated, Ukraine government officials pointed out that Russian cyberattacks against Kyiv have been long-standing.
‘It’s too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long record of Russian (cyber) assaults against Ukraine in the past,’ the foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters. Nearly a week ago, Moscow and the US and NATO held tense security talks that ended in deadlock. In addition to the cabinet website, the attack targeted the websites of the ministries of foreign affairs, education, agriculture, emergency, energy, veterans affairs, and the environment.
The websites of the state treasury and the Diia electronic public services platform, where vaccination certificates and electronic passports are stored, were also down. According to reports, Russian hackers left a message on the foreign ministry’s website. ‘Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it,’ said a message visible on the hacked government websites, written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.
The message read, ‘All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future’. It reproduced the Ukrainian flag and map crossed out. During the Second World War, the Ukrainian insurgent army, or UPA, fought against the Soviet Union. A reference was also made to ‘historical land’. Although Russia had warned of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if there is no agreement on the proposed security pact, the Kremlin maintained that it had not given up on diplomacy.
In 2014, Ukraine and Russia’s relations collapsed after Russia annexed Crimea and war broke out between Kyiv’s forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. According to the United States, Russia is trying to create a pretext to launch another military attack on Ukraine, comparing the situation to 2014.