US, allies condemn Russian cyber operations against Ukraine

The U.S. and its allies are condemning Russia for destructive cyberattacks they say Moscow has launched against Ukraine.

In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said that Ukraine has experienced numerous disruptive cyber operations, including website defacements, distributed denial-of-service attacks, and cyberattacks that erased data from computers belonging to the Ukrainian government and private companies. 

Blinken said that the disruptive cyber operations began in January — just a month before the invasion — and have since continued. 

The U.S. and the European Union (EU) confirmed that Russia was behind a cyberattack that targeted Ukraine’s satellite network in late February. The European Council in a statement said the hack took place an hour before the invasion, causing significant communication outages and disrupting several public authorities and businesses. The European Council also said that the attack spread beyond Ukrainian borders, affecting several EU member states. 

“This unacceptable cyberattack is yet another example of Russia’s continued pattern of irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace, which also formed an integral part of its illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” the European Council said. 

The U.S., the EU and other allies have joined forces and pledged to take further steps to prevent and deter such actions taken by Russia against Ukraine. 

“As nations committed to upholding the rules-based international order in cyberspace, the United States and its allies and partners are taking steps to defend against Russia’s irresponsible actions,” Blinken said. 

The State Department also released a list of several efforts it has taken to combat Russia’s cyber aggression against Ukraine. These efforts include providing direct support to Ukrainian law enforcement, sharing cyber threat information about potential or ongoing malicious cyber activity, and helping intercept and disrupt nation-state efforts to spread disinformation.

The United States Agency for International Development has also participated in these efforts by providing more than 6,700 emergency communications devices, including satellite phones and data terminals, to essential service providers, government officials and critical sectors.

The State Department also mentioned that prior to the war, the U.S. closely worked with the Ukrainian government and critical sectors and invested more than $40 million to help Ukraine grow and enhance its information technology sector since 2017.

The European Council said the EU will also continue to provide “political, financial and material support to Ukraine to strengthen its cyber resilience.”

“We praise Ukraine’s efforts—both in and outside of government—to defend against and recover from such activity, even as its country is under physical attack,” Blinken said. 

Tags Antony Blinken Ukraine

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