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Ukraine says Russia behind cyberattack in ‘hybrid war’ move | National And World News

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine said on Sunday that Russia was behind a cyberattack that defaced its government websites and claimed Russia was engaged in a mounting “hybrid war” against its neighbor.

The statement by the Ministry of Digital Development came a day after Microsoft said dozens of computer systems belonging to an unspecified number of Ukrainian government agencies had been infected with destructive malware disguised as ransomware. This disclosure indicated that last week’s high-profile defacement attack on official websites was a red herring.

“All the evidence points to Russia being behind the cyber attack. Moscow continues to wage hybrid warfare and is actively building its forces in information and cyberspace,” the ministry said.

The attack comes as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms and diplomatic talks to resolve the tense standoff appear to have stalled.

Microsoft said in a short blog post on Saturday that it first discovered the malware on Thursday. That would coincide with the attack, which simultaneously took around 70 Ukrainian government websites temporarily offline.

Microsoft said in another tech post that the affected systems “include multiple government, nonprofit, and IT organizations.” It said it didn’t know how many more organizations in Ukraine or elsewhere could be affected, but said it expected to hear about more infections.

On Sunday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said US and private companies were still working to determine the source of the attacks. He said the United States had been warning of the possibility of cyberattacks from Russia for months and was working with Ukraine to improve that country’s defenses.

“It’s part of the Russian script,” he said on CBS television’s Face the Nation show.

Oleh Derevianko, a senior private sector cybersecurity executive in Kyiv, told the Associated Press that in a supply chain attack like SolarWinds’ 2020 Russian cyberespionage campaign targeting the US government, the intruders entered government networks through a shared software vendor .

In 2017, Russia launched one of the most damaging cyber attacks of all time on Ukraine with the NotPetya virus, causing more than $10 billion in damage worldwide. This virus, also disguised as ransomware, was a so-called “wiper” that wiped out entire networks.

In Friday’s mass internet defacement, the attackers claimed in a message that they had destroyed data and put it online, which Ukrainian authorities said had not happened.

The embassy urged Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst.”

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