Cyber ​​attack on Ukrainian government websites: ‘Get ready for the worst’ | international security

Posted on Jan 14, 2022 at 13:54 inches
Ukraine Europe

The websites of some Ukraine institutions were I was attacked by a cyber attack, on January 14. The gates were blocked and displayed a message: “Fear and prepare for the worst.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the Cabinet and the Ministry of Security and Defense were targeted. Trying to access relevant websites, viewed by users message In Ukrainian, Russian and Polish. “Ukrainians! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network ”, reads the text, which adds: “All data on the computer has been destroyed, and it is impossible to restore it. All your information has been made public, fear and prepare for the worst. This is for your past, your present and your future.” Thus, the letter mentioned Volhynia, Galicia, Polesia and “Historic Lands”, as well as OUN-UPA.

The first is the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, while the UPA is the Ukrainian Insurgency Army. These are right-wing nationalist groups established during the last century, respectively in 1929 and 1943, representing one development of the other, and having their roots in Ukrainian anti-communist and Russian identity. The UPA was recognized as a far-right organization and was banned from Russian territory by decision of the Moscow Supreme Court on November 17, 2014, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Finally, another detail that can be emphasized is the fact that the lands mentioned in the letter, Volhynia, Galicia and Polisia, were the scene of a series of massacres perpetrated by the Germans and ONU against the Polish minority. Regions, 1943 to 1945.

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Back in the January 14 cyberattack, the message displayed by users was accompanied by some cross images: a map, flag and coat of arms of Ukraine, and also a pig. The animal is often associated with the country, many times with contemptuous intent. Kiev authorities said they are investigating the incident and the foreign minister said it was too early to say who might be behind this cyber attack, noting that Moscow had already done so in the past. Russia, at the moment, has not commented on the news and has always rejected such accusations by Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian government announced that it had restored most of the sites and reassured the public that no personal data had been stolen. Several other government portals have been blocked to prevent spread.

Meanwhile, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, condemned the attack and said the EU’s Political and Security Committee and IT units would meet to see how to help Kiev. “I can’t blame anyone because I don’t have proof, but we can imagine,” he said. The cyber attack follows the failure of three international diplomatic initiatives aimed at alleviating the crisis in eastern Ukraine. On January 13, there was a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, after which the US ambassador said that the West should prepare for a further escalation of tensions with Moscow. On January 9 and 10, security talks between Russia and the United States took place inside the United States Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. The discussions ended with nothing. On January 12, the Russia-NATO Council met in Brussels, for the first time in nearly three years, to discuss the very question of Ukraine. Also on this occasion, no significant diplomatic developments occurred.

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The crisis erupted between November and December 2021, when Russia deployed about 100,000 troops to the border with Ukraine. The United States, Europe and NATO have raised fears of a possible Russian invasion, but Moscow has denied the existence of such intentions, claiming that it allowed its forces to defend themselves, for fear of being attacked. These developments must be placed in the context of the gradual rapprochement between Kiev and NATO. Then, since December 17, the Russian authorities have urged the Westerners to provide security guarantees in the region, ruling out the expansion of NATO in Ukraine and the deployment of its weapons in the region. Moscow made other demands, such as the cessation of any Euro-Atlantic military activity in Eastern Europe and the withdrawal of NATO’s multinational battalions from Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. But the United States and the coalition rejected the Russian proposals and threatened to impose severe sanctions on Moscow if it launched an attack.

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Maria Grazia Rutigliano

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