Ukraine Government Websites hit by Major Cyber Attack

Ukrainian National Flag Waving on Clear Day

The Ukrainian government was hit by a major cyber attack which forced several websites offline. The affected websites include those of the country’s foreign ministry, national security, and the defense council.

Several affected sites displayed a message warning Ukrainian people that their data has been made public. As of now, the identity of the threat actor remains unknown. However, many, including the Ukraine foreign ministry, suspect Russian involvement in the attack.

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ukraine’s cyber police are investigating the attack. The country’s ministry of foreign affairs has provided some details on the extent of the attack.

A foreign ministry spokesman stated, “As a result of a massive cyberattack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down. Our specialists are already working on restoring the work of IT systems, and the cyber police opened an investigation.”

“It’s too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long record of Russian assaults against Ukraine,” the spokesman added.

The Ukrainian government said that the content of the affected websites remained safe. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any personal data leak. The government stated that it had shut down many websites as a precautionary measure, to prevent further leaks. Most of the affected sites were swiftly brought back online.

Some Affected Websites Contain Warning to Ukrainians

The attack also targeted websites of the education ministry and the government’s cabinet of ministers. The foreign ministry and education ministry websites were still inaccessible at the time of writing.

“Due to the global attack on the night of Jan. 13-14, 2022, the official website of the Ministry of Education and Science is temporarily down,” the ministry stated via Facebook.

Some affected websites displayed the following message in Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish:

“Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it,” the message reads.

It further adds, “All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future.”

Ukraine and EU Officials Suspect Russian Involvement

The cyberattack comes during a period of growing tension between Ukraine and Russia. In fact, the latter has stationed around 100,000 troops at Ukraine’s border.

When asked about Russia’s suspected involvement, a ministry spokesman stated, “It’s too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long record of Russian assaults against Ukraine.”

Josep Borrell, EU’s foreign policy chief, spoke out condemning the attack. He added that though he does not have any evidence of who is responsible, “we can imagine who is behind it.”

Technology policy researcher
Prateek is a technology policy researcher with a background in law. His areas of interest include data protection, privacy, digital currencies, and digital literacy. Outside of his research interests, Prateek is an avid reader and is engaged in projects on sustainable farming practices in India.