Ukrainian govt websites fall prey to ‘massive cyber attack’, Russian hand suspected

Ukraine on Friday was targeted by a “massive cyber attack” with at least 10 government websites, including the ministry of foreign affairs and education ministry, which ceased functioning.

Though it was unknown from where the cyber attack was launched, officials in the Ukraine government pointed out a “long record” of Russian cyber assaults against Kyiv.

“It’s too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long record of Russian (cyber) assaults against Ukraine in the past,” the foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters.

The incident follows almost a week after the tense security talks between Moscow and the US and NATO ended in stalemate.

Among the targets of the cyber attack were websites of the ministerial cabinet, the foreign, education, agriculture, emergency, energy, veterans affairs and environment ministries.

Apart from that the websites of the state treasury and the Diia electronic public services platform, where vaccination certificates and electronic passports are stored were also out of service.

According to reports, suspected Russian hackers left a message on the foreign ministry website.

“Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it,” said a message visible on the hacked government websites, written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.

“All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future.”

The message reproduced the Ukrainian flag and map crossed out. It mentioned the Ukrainian insurgent army, or UPA, which fought against the Soviet Union during the second world war. There was also a reference to “historical land”.

Russia had warned of possible “catastrophic consequences” if there was no agreement on the proposed security pact, but Kremlin asserted that it had not given up on diplomacy.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of war between Kyiv’s forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that same year.

United States on Thursday said Russia might be trying to create a pretext to launch a new military assault on Ukraine, comparing the situation to the circumstances in 2014.

(With inputs from agencies)