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Ukraine: Russia Behind Cyberattack     01/16 10:03

   

   KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine said Sunday that Russia was behind a 
cyberattack that defaced its government websites and alleged that Russia is 
engaged in an increasing "hybrid war" against its neighbor.

   The statement from the Ministry of Digital Development came a day after 
Microsoft said dozens of computer systems at an unspecified number of Ukrainian 
government agencies had been infected with destructive malware disguised as 
ransomware. That disclosure suggested the attention-grabbing defacement attack 
on official websites last week was a diversion.

   "All evidence indicates that Russia is behind the cyberattack. Moscow 
continues to wage a hybrid war and is actively building up its forces in the 
information and cyberspaces," the ministry statement said.

   The attack comes as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms and 
diplomatic talks to resolve the tense standoff appear stalled.

   Microsoft said in a short blog post Saturday that it first detected the 
malware on Thursday. That would coincide with the attack that simultaneously 
took some 70 Ukrainian government websites temporarily offline.

   Microsoft said in a different, technical post that the affected systems 
"span multiple government, non-profit, and information technology 
organizations." It said it did not know how many more organizations in Ukraine 
or elsewhere might be affected but said it expected to learn of more infections.

   A top private sector cybersecurity executive in Kyiv, Oleh Derevianko, told 
The Associated Press that the intruders penetrated the government networks 
through a shared software supplier in a supply-chain attack like the 2020 
SolarWinds Russian cyberespionage campaign that targeted the U.S. government.

   In 2017, Russia targeted Ukraine with one of the most damaging cyberattacks 
on record with the NotPetya virus, causing more than $10 billion in damage 
globally. That virus, also disguised as ransomware, was a so-called "wiper" 
that erased entire networks.

   In Friday's mass web defacement, a message left by the attackers claimed 
they had destroyed data and placed it online, which Ukrainian authorities said 
had not happened.

   The message told Ukrainians to "be afraid and expect the worst."

 
 
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