On Tuesday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry was hit by a DDoS attack that prevented users from accessing the website, and two Ukrainian banks lost access to online banking services, according to government statements.
In a tweet posted around 7:00 p.m. local time (12:00 p.m. ET), the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said its website was likely hit by a DDoS attack and work is underway to restore the service. Four hours later, the site was still inaccessible.
The DDoS attack comes as Russia claimed it was de-escalating potential conflict by withdrawing troops from its border with Ukraine – a statement received by NATO with “cautious optimism” but also met with skepticism amid of a series of conflicting signals from the Russian army.
At the same time, two banks also suffered a denial-of-service attack that took ATMs offline and prevented some customers from withdrawing or transferring money online.
According to a statement from the Ukrainian government’s Center for Strategic Communications, PrivatBank faced a “massive DDoS attack” that blocked many online banking services, including payments and balance inquiries, but did not affect core banking services or threaten customers’ money. . Oschadbank also lost all functionality for internet banking, according to the statement. A few hours later, another statement from the Ukrainian government said the banks had resumed online services.
The cyber attack has still not been attributed to any specific actor by the Ukrainian government or US officials, although many suspect Russian involvement in light of the ongoing military situation.
Opinion is divided on whether today’s attacks — which are relatively mundane in terms of Russia-Ukraine relations — are a harbinger of military activity or a return to normalcy. Matt Tait, a security analyst known as pwnaallthethings, tweeted that the DDoS was not “part of the invasion” and urged caution in reporting.
Other sources in the cybersecurity industry similarly downplay the severity of the attack. “We can confirm the DDOS attacks, but see no indication that their impact is critical… this activity could be to keep a sense of pressure on Ukraine in the face of more positive news from the past day said Cisco’s director of threat intelligence Matthew Olney, by tweet shared by cybersecurity journalist Kim Zetter.
But according to reports in The Washington PostRecently released information suggests that Russian government hackers have likely already compromised critical Ukrainian infrastructure and would unleash many more damaging attacks in the event of an invasion.
The AfterThe report quotes an official familiar with the intelligence documents as saying that Russia would be able to disrupt services such as electricity, transportation, finance and telecommunications, either in direct support of military operations or to create a sense of panic. create that would destabilize the country.
A representative of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), reached by email, declined to make a statement about the situation, but The edge to an information page detailing preparedness measures being taken to reduce the likelihood of a Russian cyber-attack on the US.