Ukraine Claims to Have Suffered 50,000 Cyberattacks — Last Week

Russian hacker in the hood threatens with his fist against the backdrop of a tricolor from a binary code, cyber threat
Dmitry Nogaev/Getty Images

Ukraine’s State Service for Special Communication and Information Protection said Friday that Ukrainian government systems had suffered over 50,000 cyberattacks between June 9 and June 15.

On June 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin fancifully claimed the United States is the source of most cyberattacks in the world, while Russia — which is on the edge of war with Ukraine — hardly commits any of them.

“The system of state bodies’ protected access to the Internet blocked 50,571 attacks of various types, which is 17% more than in the previous week. The vast majority is network attacks of the application level [98%]. Some 19 DDoS attacks were blocked. Mostly on the web resources of the President of Ukraine,” the information protection service said.

The government detected over a million “suspicious events,” most of them efforts to pilfer user credentials or administrator rights to targeted computer systems.

The report said Ukraine’s CERT-UA emergency response cybersecurity team reported intervening against 4,384 cyber incidents during the week.  

Cybersecurity analysts have accused Russia of using Ukraine, and other former Soviet satellites, as testing grounds for its cyberweapons. Russian hacking activity against adversaries tends to surge during times of great political tension, as when Estonia was hit by one of the largest coordinated cyberattacks to date in 2007 following a dispute with Moscow. 

Electronic warfare has been part of Russia’s “hybrid war” campaign against Ukraine since 2014. In 2015, hackers managed to knock out Ukraine’s power grid for a few hours in the dead of winter. In 2017, a Russian attack took down 10 percent of Ukraine’s computer systems and inflicted millions of dollars in economic losses. 

In February 2021, Ukraine said it repelled a massive Russian cyberattack against Ukraine’s Security Service, its National Security and Defense Council, and other government agencies. Ukrainian cybersecurity experts said the attacks were traced back to “certain Russian traffic networks.” 

After meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday, Putin claimed Russia is innocent of cyber-espionage and accused the United States of being a far more guilty party.

“From American sources, it follows that most of the cyberattacks in the world are carried out from the cyber realm of the United States. Second place is Canada. Then two Latin American countries. Afterward comes Great Britain. Russia is not on the list of countries from where, from the cyberspace of which, most of the various cyberattacks are carried out,” Putin said, without citing his source for the claim.

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