UPDATED: Ukraine suffers massive cyber attack, NATO to sign deal on closer cyber cooperation with Ukraine

Reading Time: 3 minutes

BRUSSELS, Jan 14 (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg strongly condemned on Friday the cyberattacks on the Ukrainian government and said the western military alliance would sign an agreement on closer cyber security cooperation with Kyiv in the coming days.

“NATO cyber experts in Brussels have been exchanging information with their Ukrainian counterparts on the current malicious cyber activities,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.

“Allied experts in country are also supporting the Ukrainian authorities on the ground. In the coming days, NATO and Ukraine will sign an agreement on enhanced cyber cooperation, including Ukrainian access to NATO’s malware information sharing platform.”

A massive cyberattack warning Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst” hit government websites on Thursday night, leaving some websites inaccessible on Friday morning and prompting Ukraine to open an investigation.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters it was too early to say who could be behind the attack but said Russia had been behind similar strikes in the past.

The cyberattack, which hit the ministry of foreign affairs, the cabinet of ministers and the security and defence council among others, comes as Kyiv and its allies have sounded the alarm about a possible new military offensive on Ukraine.

Russia has previously denied being behind cyber attacks on Ukraine.

“Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it,” said a message visible on hacked government websites, written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.

“All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future.”

The United States warned on Thursday that the threat of a Russian military invasion was high. Russia said dialogue was continuing but was hitting a dead end as it tried to persuade the West to bar Ukraine from joining NATO and roll back decades of alliance expansion in Europe – demands that the United States has called “non-starters”.

“It’s too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long record of Russian assaults against Ukraine in the past,” the foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters.

A top Ukrainian security official told Reuters: “All subjects of cyber security were aware of such possible provocations by the Russian Federation. Therefore, the response to these incidents is carried out as usual.”

EU top diplomat condemns Ukraine cyber attack, offers help

BREST, France, Jan 14 (Reuters) – The European Union’s top diplomat condemned on Friday a cyber attack on Ukraine and said the EU’s political and security committee and cyber units would meet to see how to respond and help Kyiv.

“We are going to mobilise all our resources to help Ukraine to tackle this cyber attack. Sadly, we knew it could happen,” Josep Borrell told reporters at an EU foreign ministers meeting in the western French city of Brest.

“It’s difficult to say (who is behind it). I can’t blame anybody as I have no proof, but we can imagine.” 

Photo – EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

Once you're here...