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HomeNewsInternational NewsCyberattacks accompany Russian military assault on Ukraine

Cyberattacks accompany Russian military assault on Ukraine



BOSTON (AP) — The websites of Ukraine’s defense, foreign and interior ministries were unreachable or painfully slow to load Thursday morning after a punishing wave of distributed-denial-of-service attacks as Russia struck at its neighbor, explosions shaking the capital of Kyiv and other major cities.

In addition to DDoS attacks on Wednesday, cybersecurity researchers said unidentified attackers had infected hundreds of computers with destructive malware, some in neighboring Latvia and Lithuania.

Asked if the denial-of-service attacks were continuing Thursday morning, senior Ukrainian cyber defense official Victor Zhora did not answer. “Are you serious?” he texted. “There are ballistic missiles here.”

“This is terrible. We need the world to stop it. Immediately,” Zhora said of the offensive that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in the pre-dawn hours.

Officials have long expected cyber attacks to precede and accompany any Russian military incursion. The combination of DDoS attacks, which bombard websites with junk traffic to render them unreachable, and malware infections hewed to Russia’s playbook of wedding cyber operations with real-world aggression.

ESET Research Labs said it detected a previously unseen piece of data-wiping malware Wednesday on “hundreds of machines in the country.” It was not clear how many networks were affected.

“With regards whether the malware was successful in its wiping capability, we assume that this indeed was the case and affected machines were wiped,” said ESET research chief Jean-Ian Boutin. He would not name the targets but said they were “large organizations.”

ESET was unable to say who was responsible.

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