Nato offers tech support after ‘massive cyber attack’ hits Ukraine

NATO has pledged to support Ukraine after it was hit by a “massive cyber attack” that has taken several government websites offline.

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance would sign an enhanced cyber security agreement with Ukraine in the coming days.

NATO experts were already providing support to Ukraine “on the ground” and were sharing information about the “malicious cyber attacks” that hit the country today (January 14, 2022).

The attack follows tense negotiations between Russia, the United States and NATO this week over Russia’s buildup of 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine. Speculation grew today about the origin of the attacks, with many Ukrainians pointing fingers at Russia despite hackers’ attempts to divert attention to Poland.

‘Fear’

Most government sites were inaccessible, including the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the antitrust committee and Diaa, which is the online platform used by citizens to access passports, vaccination certificates and other services, according to a source. in Ukraine.

The official websites of the the office of the president, volodymyr zelensky, and the ukrainian parliament escaped the attack. The mobile version of Diaa was also working.

Hackers posted messages on Ukrainian government websites warning people to “all your personal data has been uploaded to the public network” and to “Be afraid and expect the worst.”

They featured drawings of the Ukrainian flag and a map of Ukraine, both crossed out.

Hacker Message Posted on Ukrainian Government Websites

The text, written partly in Polish, refers to controversial facts in the history of Ukraine regarding its relationship with Poland. But there are clear errors in the text, leading to suggestions of an attempt to shift responsibility for the attack to Polish hackers.

The message posted by the hackers is in Polish, but Polish newspapers and fluent Polish-speaking Ukrainians found several errors in the text that mean it’s Google or another translation service,” a commenter in Ukraine told Computer Weekly. “So I strongly believe that those hackers are Russians trying to hide under the historical problems of Ukraine and Poland,” he said.

NATO offers cyber support

Stoltenberg issued a statement strongly condemning the attacks against Ukraine.

“NATO cyber experts in Brussels have been exchanging information with their Ukrainian counterparts about current malicious cyber activities. Allied experts in the country are also supporting the Ukrainian authorities on the ground,” he said.

“In the coming days, NATO and Ukraine will sign an agreement on enhanced cyber cooperation, including Ukraine’s access to NATO’s malware information sharing platform. NATO’s strong political and practical support for Ukraine will continue,” he added.

Jens StoltenbergNATO

“NATO’s strong political and practical support for Ukraine will continue”

Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO

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Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, confirmed that the attack had affected the websites of government agencies.

“As a result of a massive cyberattack, the websites of the Foreign Ministry and several other government agencies are temporarily down,” it said in a statement. post on twitter. “Our specialists have already started to restore the work of IT systems, and the cyber police opened an investigation.”

Posts posted on the hacked websites, claimed, implausibly, that the perpetrators had accessed the personal data of Ukrainian citizens and published it on the web.

Ukrainian! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to recover it. All information about you has been made public, be afraid and expect the worst,” he said.

The hackers referenced incidents in Ukraine’s history, including the annexation of Volyn, formerly part of Poland, to Ukraine in 1939, which led to the deportation of thousands of Poles to labor camps in Siberia.

Other references were made to the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), a far-right group that operated in Galicia, part of Poland before World War II. The organization regarded Poland as a political enemy.

“This is for your past, present and future. for Volyn, for the OUN UPA, for Galicia, for Polissya and for historical lands. Ukrainian! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to recover,” the statement said, according to a translation of a screenshot of the message captured by the BuzzFeed reporter in Ukraine, Christopher Miller.

police investigation

Cyber ​​police department of Ukraine said in a statement that the attack had defaced websites with provocative messages, but that the contents of computer systems had not been affected and no personal data had been lost.

“In order to prevent the spread of the attack to other resources and the localization of the technical problem, the work of other government sites has been temporarily suspended,” the statement said.

The cyber police department, together with the State Special Communications Service and the Security Service of Ukraine, have started collecting digital evidence and identifying those involved in cyber attacks.

“Most of the attacked state resources have already been restored and others will be available soon,” he said.

A US State Department spokesman said Friday night that the US would offer support to Ukraine.

“We are in contact with the Ukrainians and have offered our support as Ukraine investigates the impact and nature and recovers from the incidents. As we continue to assess the impact with Ukrainians, so far it seems limited with websites coming back online,” the spokesperson said.

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