Ukraine Defense and Bank Networks DDoS-ed

The website of the Ukrainian defense ministry appears to be back online after a major DDoS attack knocked it and two banking networks out.

The attacks came on Tuesday afternoon and lasted for several hours, according to internet monitoring organization NetBlocks.

“NetBlocks metrics confirm the loss of service to multiple banking and online platforms in Ukraine, in a manner consistent with a denial-of-service attack. The incident comes amid heightened tensions with neighboring Russia,” it revealed yesterday.

“Metrics indicate impact beginning from Tuesday afternoon intensifying in severity over the course of the day. Some service was restored by the evening.”

The two banks impacted were the state-owned PrivatBank and Oschadbank, NetBlocks added.

While there’s no direct attribution for the attacks, it’s highly likely to have been coordinated from Moscow. The Kremlin has been ramping up pressure on Kyiv for weeks following a massive build-up of troops near the border with Ukraine.

This week, Ukrainian security agency the SBU warned that Russia is already waging a “massive wave of hybrid warfare” against the country through physical and cyber-related attacks.

It claimed to have shut down a bot farm in Lviv that was being used to host as many as 18,000 fake mobile accounts.

These were used to register fake social media accounts designed to spread panic via fake news stories, including that mines had been laid in public spaces. The SBU claimed that the accounts were also used to make bomb threats against schools and other facilities across Ukraine.

Russia has already been blamed for defacing at least a dozen Ukrainian government websites last month and launching a destructive malware attack dubbed “WhisperGate,” which was designed to look like financially motivated ransomware.

President Biden yesterday warned of consequences to Russia’s growing menace.

“If Russia attacks the United States or our allies through asymmetric means, like disruptive cyber-attacks against our companies or critical infrastructure, we are prepared to respond,” he said. 

“We’re moving in lockstep with our NATO allies and partners to deepen our collective defense against threats in cyberspace.”

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