Ukrainian officials say the country has been hit by the largest cyberattack it has ever experienced, as Russian troops remain gathered on the eastern European county’s borders, per NBC News.
Viktor Zhora, head of Ukraine’s State Special Communications Service, said that he cannot confirm that Russian hackers are behind an attack on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure networks at this time, reported NBC.
NEW: Ukraine says they are suffering from the largest cyber attack they’ve ever experienced.
Viktor Zhora, head of the State Special Communications Service said that they cannot confirm that Russian hackers stand behind the attack on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure networks.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) February 16, 2022
Zhora explained that “a significant amount of resources” had been marshalled to carry out the attack, but insisted that “the situation is under control and Ukraine is coping with this attack.”
A number of major Ukrainian websites were temporarily knocked offline on Tuesday, following a cyberattack that hit two of the country’s largest banks and its defense ministry.
Privatbank users saw problems with payments and its banking app, while Oshadbank said its systems had slowed after the sites were overwhelmed in a distributed denial of service, a process by which hackers flood a network with unusually high volumes of data traffic to crash it.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian officials did not officially name Russia as the aggressor, but did seem to suggest that it could have been the Kremlin.
“It is not ruled out that the aggressor used tactics of dirty little tricks because its aggressive plans are not working out on a large scale,” the Ukrainian Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security said.
The attacks carried “traces of foreign intelligence services,” Ilya Vityuk, head of the cybersecurity department of Ukraine’s state security service, said in a news briefing.
President Biden has questioned the validity of Russia’s claims that it is withdrawing some troops from the Ukrainian border. Biden noted on Tuesday that more than 150,000 Russian troops were still gathered and that the U.S. had not verified Russia’s drawdown. “Our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position,” said Biden.
“If Russia attacks the United States or our allies through asymmetric means like disruptive cyber attacks against our companies or critical infrastructure, we’re prepared to respond,” declared the president.
Senator Jim Risch (R., Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Russia has conducted cyberattacks before invading countries in the past.
“Every time the Russians have done this, they’ve started with a cyber attack. They did it in Georgia, they did it in Crimea, they did it in Estonia, when they didn’t even go in,” he said, according to NBC. “It’s in their quiver.”