Cyberattacks hit Ukrainian Banks and Other High Profile Accounts

Ukrainian banks and government websites were hit with a major wave of cyberattacks before Russian forces began their military offensive against Ukraine. The source of the attack is presumed to be Russia, building on recent cyber attacks believed to have been aimed at causing confusion and destabilization before the invasion. The extent of the damage is somewhat unclear, so it’s difficult to know how important this action was for the Russian invasion plans.

Cyberattacks precede invasion

Ukrainian officials reported that a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack began at around 4 P.M. local time on February 23; the invasion began early on the morning of the following day.

Government websites were apparently the primary target, with sites for the parliament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Cabinet of Ministers all attacked.

Some banks were hit as well. During a similar attack last week many Ukrainians received text messages claiming that ATMs in the country had stopped working.

The attackers are not known to have actually disabled any ATMs. The cyberattacks appear to have been mainly intended to spread panic and confusion.

Ukrainians checking government websites for official information or attempting to withdrawal money from banks would instead find that the sites had been taken offline.

Russia denied responsibility for all of the recent cyber attacks on Ukraine, but the timing and targeting of the DDoS attacks speaks for itself.

Biden considering attack on Russia

NBC has reported that President Joe Biden has been presented with a plan to launch a massive wave of cyberattacks on Russia in retaliation for the invasion.

The White House has issued a denial which is about as convincing as Moscow’s claim that it had nothing to do with the DDoS attacks in Ukraine.

The “menu of options” being offered to Biden reportedly includes cyberattacks which would disable the electrical grid, internet, and railway switches in parts of the country.

These attacks would be unprecedented in cyberwarfare and would vastly exceed any known attacks orchestrated by other nations.

These plans are being given to the president for pre-emptive use and might be enacted regardless of whether or not Russia struck first, meaning that Biden would be ordering a massive and dangerous escalation.

Some advisors are reportedly telling Biden that these cyberattacks would not amount to an act of war; this is pure conjecture, because only Russia’s opinion matters when Russia is deciding how to define an attack.

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