A huge cyberattack is underway in Ukraine on Wednesday afternoon as officials say that its national banks and state-sponsored websites are being hit.
The Foreign Ministry website and that of the state security service were also experiencing cyberattacks as part of what the government charged was the beginning of another massive denial of service (DDoS) attack that began at around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT).
Ukrainian authorities had already told the press that said this week they had seen online warnings that hackers were about to launch major attacks on just the types of entities that are now undergoing such attacks.
Cyberattack in Ukraine just the most recent in long string of such events
The embattled country has been the target of a number of such malicious attacks, blaming them on Russia. Meanwhile, Moscow, which sent its forces into the two Ukrainian provinces of the Donbass on Monday in what the rest of the world sees as an invasion, denies any involvement.
Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, stated to Reuters “At about 4 pm, another mass DDoS attack on our state began. We have relevant data from a number of banks,” adding that the website for the country’s parliament was also hit by cyberattackers.
Fedorov did not disclose which banks were affected; no officials from Ukraine’s central bank could immediately be reached for comment.
Earlier cyberattacks last week against Ukraine targeted the online networks of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry as well as two banks; however, the U.S. company Netscout Systems Inc. later called the damage from the attacks “modest.”
Blinken: “Wholesale rejection of diplomacy”
NetBlocks, which is a firm that monitors Internet blockages around the globe, posted a tweet that showed a drop-off in connections for Ukrainian government websites.
NetBlocks director Alp Toker told Reuters “We’ve observed that the current network disruption has partial impact on the network layer to multiple defense and ministerial websites in Ukraine.”
He added, however, that “The spread of outages is similar but distinct from the recent DDOS attack targeting defense and banking platforms, with the latter not impacted in this instance.”
Also on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is ready for dialogue, but simultaneously heaped praise on his military forces.
The range of Western sanctions that are to be imposed on Russia after its invasion of the Donbass region fell short of the full set of measures that had been threatened by the Biden administration if a full-scale invasion of Ukraine took place.
However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled his planned meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, declaring “Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy.”