Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cyberwarfare

West Blames Russia for Satellite Hack Ahead of Ukraine Invasion

Western powers on Tuesday accused Russian authorities of carrying out a cyberattack against a satellite network an hour before the invasion of Ukraine to pave the way for its assault.

Western powers on Tuesday accused Russian authorities of carrying out a cyberattack against a satellite network an hour before the invasion of Ukraine to pave the way for its assault.

According to the British foreign office, British, US and EU cyber security experts had met to assess new intelligence linking the February attack directly to the Russian state.

“This is clear and shocking evidence of a deliberate and malicious attack by Russia against Ukraine which had significant consequences on ordinary people and businesses in Ukraine and across Europe,” UK foreign minister Liz Truss said.

The allegation marked the first time the European Union has formally blamed Russian authorities for carrying out a cyberattacks, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. 

“The European Union and its Member States, together with its international partners, strongly condemn the malicious cyber activity conducted by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which targeted the satellite KA-SAT network, operated by Viasat,” the 27-nation bloc said in a statement. 

“The cyberattack took place one hour before Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 thus facilitating the military aggression.”

[ Read: New Modem Wiper Malware May be Connected to Viasat Hack ]

The EU statement said the attack caused significant disruptions “across public authorities, businesses and users in Ukraine, as well as affecting several EU member states.”

The British statement also said that Russian military intelligence was “almost certainly” behind an earlier attack on January 13 that temporarily defaced Ukrainian government websites.

Borrell said that previously, the bloc has only said that cyberattacks had come from within Russia, but that it now had enough evidence to attribute this hack to the Russian state.

“We will have to work together with Ukraine, our international partners on how to prevent, discourage, deter and respond to these cyberattacks that we certainly attribute to the Russian Federation,” he said.

European providers said in March that the targeting of US satellite operator Viasat threw thousands of internet users offline in Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, Italy and Poland. 

Russia invaded its pro-Western neighbor Ukraine in the early hours of February 24 in what appeared to be an attempt to quickly oust the country’s leadership. 

The assault has now ground on for over two months as Ukrainian forces have inflicted heavy losses on Russia’s army and forced it to refocus its assault on the east of the country. 

Military and cyber specialists had feared that the war could lead to an outbreak of devastating cyberattacks that could spillover to have a global effect. 

But a worst-case scenario has so far been avoided, as the attacks observed appear to be contained in their impact and geographical scope. 

*Updated with US, UK accusations and additional commentary

RelatedRussia, Ukraine and the Danger of a Global Cyberwar

Related: Destructive ‘HermeticWiper’ Malware Targets Computers in Ukraine

RelatedMore Russian Attacks Against Ukraine Come to Light

RelatedMicrosoft Uncovers Destructive Malware Used in Ukraine Cyberattacks

RelatedUkraine Attack: Hackers Had Access for Months Before Causing Damage

Written By

AFP 2023

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Cyberwarfare

Websites of German airports, administration bodies and banks were hit by DDoS attacks attributed to Russian hacker group Killnet

Cybercrime

Artificial intelligence is competing in another endeavor once limited to humans — creating propaganda and disinformation.

Cyberwarfare

The UK’s NCSC has issued a security advisory to warn about spearphishing campaigns conducted by two unrelated Russian and Iranian hacker groups.

Cyberwarfare

Iranian APT Moses Staff is leaking data stolen from Saudi Arabia government ministries under the recently created Abraham's Ax persona

Cyberwarfare

WASHINGTON - Cyberattacks are the most serious threat facing the United States, even more so than terrorism, according to American defense experts. Almost half...

Cybercrime

Albanian prosecutors on Wednesday asked for the house arrest of five public employees they blame for not protecting the country from a cyberattack by...

Cyberwarfare

Cybersecurity firm Group-IB is raising the alarm on a newly identified advanced persistent threat (APT) actor targeting government and military organizations in Asia and...

Application Security

Fortinet on Monday issued an emergency patch to cover a severe vulnerability in its FortiOS SSL-VPN product, warning that hackers have already exploited the...