Cyber ​​attacks on Ukraine: US intelligence fears Russian hackers will infiltrate defense systems

The US intelligence services believe that Russian government hackers may have infiltrated critical military, energy and computer networks in Ukraine.

a) yes, Russian hackers could strategically position themselves in these systems to disable them if the Kremlin launches a military attack on Ukraine.according to a recently declassified US intelligence report published by the Washington Post.

The newspaper says that Moscow may try to disrupt the activity of Ukrainian institutions that provide services considered critical such as electricity, transportation, finance and communications, either to support military operations or to spread panic in an attempt to destabilize the country.

The report makes it clear The United States only decided that Russia could engage in disruptive cyber activity, but it did not.The intelligence official consulted by the newspaper, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. “We don’t know if they intend to do this,” the official said. “But We have worked with Ukraine to strengthen its cyber defenses.”

An ATM from PrivatBank, one of the banks that was hacked this Tuesday (REUTERS/Valentin Ogirenko)
An ATM from PrivatBank, one of the banks that was hacked this Tuesday (REUTERS/Valentin Ogirenko)

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian government’s Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security said PrivatBank, the country’s largest commercial bank, had been subjected to an attack that temporarily interfered with customers’ online banking transactions. The Kiev government said service was restored within hours.

The websites of the Ministry of Defense and the Ukrainian Armed Forces have also been down, although the Ukrainian government has not confirmed who was behind the attacks.


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russia had “nothing to do” with the new cyber attack on Ukrainian state and bank pages. “We don’t know anything and, as expected, Ukraine continues to blame Russia for everything,” the Kremlin press secretary said in his daily conference call. He stressed that “Russia has nothing to do with any DDoS attacks.”

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If the conflict with Ukraine escalatesOfficials fear the possibility of broader cyber attacks in retaliation for Western sanctions or other measures used to prop up Kievpoints to the newspaper.

The concern is so great that the White House’s deputy national security adviser on cybersecurity and emerging technologies, Anne Neuberger, last Friday conducted a simulation exercise to make sure the That federal agencies be prepared for Russian cyberattacks that could occur The conflict with Moscow.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber ​​Security and Emerging Technologies, Ann Neuberger (Reuters/ Jonathan Ernst)
White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber ​​Security and Emerging Technologies, Ann Neuberger (Reuters/ Jonathan Ernst)

These actions could include a cyber attack against Ukraine, but also an attack against any NATO member. “We wanted to prepare for every scenario,” the newspaper quoted the official as saying.

President Joe Biden himself said so on Tuesday If Russia attacks the United States or its allies “through disruptive cyberattacks” against businesses or critical infrastructure, its government is prepared to “respond.”

The US government is also warning the country’s essential industries to ensure their systems are as robust as possible against cyberattacks, as Russia could try to disrupt electricity and gas supplies, among other things.

In the past, the Russians have already infiltrated the control systems of some US electric companies, although there have been no outages.

(With information from EFE)

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