Ukraine Hit By Massive Cyberattack Targeting Ministry Websites
January 14, 2022
Several Ukrainian government websites have been targeted in a massive
cyberattack amid heightened tensions between the West and Russia, which has
massed troops and military equipment near the border with Ukraine.
The news was first reported early on January 14 by the Ukrainian Ministry of
Education on its Facebook page. Kyiv later said the cyberattack had not changed
the content of any of the government websites targeted and that no personal data
had been leaked.
"Due to the global attack on the night of Jan. 13-14, 2022, the official website
of the Ministry of Education and Science is temporarily down," the ministry
Josep Borrell, the European Union's top diplomat, condemned the cyberattack and
said the EU's political and security committee and cyberunits would meet to see
how to respond and help Kyiv.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also condemned the attack, adding the
alliance's cyberexperts were exchanging information with their Ukrainian
In a statement, Ukraine's government said that a number of other state websites
had been suspended to prevent the attack from spreading, though most of the
affected state resources had already been restored.
During the cyberattack, a message appeared on the website of the Ukrainian
Foreign Ministry written in Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish, warning Ukrainians
to “be afraid and expect the worst.”
On some of the websites, a text appeared in the same three languages saying all
data of Ukrainians uploaded to the network had become public.
"We are going to mobilize all our resources to help Ukraine to tackle this
cyberattack. Sadly, we knew it could happen," Borrell told reporters at an EU
foreign ministers meeting in the western French port 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."
Stoltenberg said NATO and Ukraine would soon sign an agreement to strengthen
cybercooperation in the coming days.
“NATO and Ukraine will sign an agreement on enhanced cybercooperation, including
Ukrainian access to NATO's malware information sharing platform. NATO’s strong
political and practical support for Ukraine will continue,” Stoltenberg said.
No group has taken responsibility for the attack, but Russian hackers linked to
Moscow have repeatedly been blamed for cyberattacks on Ukrainian government
websites and infrastructure in the past.
The West has accused Russia of deploying tanks, artillery and about 100,000
soldiers on Ukraine's war-torn eastern border in recent weeks, in what NATO says
is preparation for an invasion.
Moscow says it has no plans to invade Ukraine.
In December, Russia unveiled proposals to contain the United States and NATO in
the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, saying that the US-led alliance
should not admit Ukraine or Georgia as new members.
week the United States and its NATO allies held talks with Russia in an attempt
to ease tensions, but all three rounds of negotiations -- in Geneva, Brussels
and Vienna -- failed to make significant progress.
On January 13, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow saw no
reason to hold a new round of security talks with the West following a lack of
In October 2020, the United States charged six Russians with carrying out
cyberattacks on Ukraine's power grid, the 2017 French elections, and the 2018
At the time, the U.S. Justice Department said the six were current or former
members of the GRU -- Russian military intelligence -- and were also accused of
staging a malware attack called "NotPetya," which infected computers of
businesses worldwide causing nearly $1 billion in losses.