Moscow Exchange Downed by Cyber-Attack

The website for the Moscow Stock Exchange was offline and inaccessible on Monday.

A crowdsourced community of hackers endorsed by Kyiv officials has claimed responsibility for the outage. The Ukraine IT Army posted a message on Telegram that it had taken just five minutes to render the site inaccessible.

A spokesperson for global internet connectivity tracking company NetBlocks told Forbes: “We can confirm the Moscow Exchange website is down, but we don’t have visibility into the incident’s root cause or the extent of the disruption.”

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, announced the formation of the IT Army on Twitter last week and published a link to a list of prominent Russian websites for the hackers to target. 

On the hit list were the websites of 31 Russian businesses and state organizations, including those of energy company Gazprom, oil producer Lukoil, three banks and several government websites.

Following the IT Army’s Telegram post, Fedorov posted the following message on social media: “The mission has been accomplished! Thank you!”

After an initial delay, the central bank of Russia confirmed that the Moscow Exchange would remain closed today. London-listed shares of Russian companies plummeted after the country’s invasion of Ukraine was met with the imposition of new sanctions.

Bloomberg reports that depositary receipts for Sberbank of Russia PJSC sank as much as 77%, while Gazprom PJSC dropped 62%.

In the middle of Monday afternoon, the website of Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, was also knocked offline. The outage was confirmed by NetBlocks and celebrated by Fedorov, who declared: “Sberbank fell!” on social media. 

The cyber-attacks on Russia follow multiple digital assaults on Ukrainian bank and government websites earlier this month, which were attributed to Russia by officials in the UK, US and Ukraine. 

On Monday, the Romanian National Cyber Security Directorate and cybersecurity firm Bitdefender announced a collaboration to provide cybersecurity expertise, threat intelligence and technology free of charge to the people of Ukraine, NATO and any aligned country ally, “for as long as it is necessary.”

Florin Talpes, co-founder and CEO of Bitdefender, said: “As proud Romanians and a company of global citizens, we stand with our northern neighbors who bravely fight for their future.”

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