Cyber Actors threatened citizens with the publication of their private data
A number of government websites in the Ukraine recently came under fire from a sustained hacking attack on the 13th of January, which involved cyber attackers distributing menacing messages which appear to be aimed at intimidating Ukrainian citizens.
A Facebook post by the Ministry of Education and Science confirmed the attack occurred late Thursday and into the early hours of Friday morning.
During the attack, websites related to the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were inaccessible although the Ukrainian government says it’s now restored many of the affected websites.
The attackers wrote in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish and threatened to release private data to the public, according to what was left on the websites.
“All information about you has become public. Be afraid and expect worse. It’s your past, present and future,”
Media Reports on the contents of the threatening messages
Despite the cyber attackers threats, the Ukrainian government denied that any personal data about their citizens had been leaked.
An investigation is currently underway, according to the Energy Ministry and is being conducted by a police unit which specialises in cyber-attacks.
There is, so far, no one officially named as the suspected perpetrator of the DoS attacks and the Ukrainian government says “it’s too early to draw conclusions”.
“…But there is a long history of Russian attacks on Ukraine.”
A Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
The EU’s head of foreign policy, Josep Borrell, has condemned the attack.
“We are going to mobilise all our resources to help Ukraine to tackle this. Sadly, we knew it could happen.”
Josep Borrell, EU Head of Foreign Policy
Unfortunately an attack like this is nothing new for Ukraine, as hacker groups with suspected links to Russian Intelligence have been involved in previous attacks including an attack on the country’s electricity grid in 2015, which left 200,000 people without power, with a similar attack occurring a year later. The NotPetya ransomware also hit Ukrainian servers (among others) in 2017 and was also attributed to Russia.
So far the country has been the victim of 288,000 cyber-attacks in just the first 10 months of 2021, and 397,000 in 2020.