Published on 14 Jan. 2022 at 12: 35
We only lend to the rich. All eyes were on Russia this Friday morning, repeatedly accused in recent years of cyberattacks in the West, while Ukrainian government sites were the target of a cyberattack described as “widespread” by Kiev. The Ukrainian public authorities have not accused anyone by name for this hack of unknown and unclaimed origin, which made inaccessible the sites of ministries, including those of Foreign Affairs, National Education and Emergency Situations.
But this attack comes at a sensitive time, after four days of fruitless negotiations between Western countries and Moscow on the security situation in Europe, with threats of Russian military invasion of Ukraine . Russia has deployed near 06.000 soldiers not far from the eastern borders of Ukraine, supported by numerous missiles, planes, helicopters, armored vehicles and ships. The Kremlin, which denies any plan of invasion, let it be known Thursday evening that it was “not interested” in the resumption in short term of new negotiations.
A major computer attack targeting strategic Ukrainian infrastructure to disrupt the country is one of the scenarios mentioned by specialists as being the harbinger of a classic military offensive. It can also be a simple means of intimidation. Moscow considers that Ukraine’s candidacy for the Atlantic Alliance, encouraged by the latter in 1997, is a threat for his safety. The Kremlin announced at the beginning of December that it demanded the signing of two treaties with Washington and NATO guaranteeing that the latter would not welcome any new members in the future and that American soldiers would no longer be deployed beyond the Alliance boundaries of 1997.
The Ukrainian authorities did not indicate whether internal computer networks of the ministries were also disabled, or whether the activities on the ground of the Ministry of Emergency Situations were disrupted. A threatening message was posted by the perpetrators of the cyberattack on the homepage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Ukrainians, be afraid and prepare for the worst. All your personal data has been uploaded to the web”. The Ukrainian intelligence services claimed “that no leak of personal data had been recorded”.
A spokesman for Ukrainian diplomacy said: “Our experts are working to restore the functioning of computer systems and the police have opened an investigation”. Ukraine has top-notch IT experts, whose services, incidentally, provide significant foreign exchange earnings. The European Union announced this Friday morning, through the voice of the spokesperson for the head of its diplomacy , Josep Borrell, that it “was mobilizing all its resources to come to the aid of Ukraine”.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced shortly after that he was suspending “all channels of communication with the European Union” (but not with the United States), without specifying whether this decision was in retaliation or not. to these service offerings. He also announced that he was expecting a “written response” from NATO and the United States to the Russian requests within the next few days.
Ukraine has several times been the target of cyberattacks attributed to Russia, in particular in 2022 against several critical infrastructures and in 2015 against its network of electricity, causing a power outage lasting several hours in the west of the country.
US justice revealed in October that it had indicted six agents of the dreaded Russian military intelligence services (GRU) for these cyberattacks, but also for others around the world, which would have caused damage of around 1 billion dollars.
Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and militarily supports the separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, where it deployed its own troops, according to a Russian court ruling inadvertently released recently.