DDoS attacks are wreaking havoc on Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces, as well as two of the country’s state-owned banks, Privatbank (Ukraine’s largest bank) and Oschadbank (the State Savings Bank). According to Ukraine’s Cyberpolice, bank clients recently got text messages disclosing bank ATMs were down. The police also claimed that the texts were “part of an information attack and do not correspond to reality.”
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, whose website was knocked down due to the attacks, said that it was most likely hit by DDoS, with an unusually high number of requests per second recorded.
“Starting from the afternoon of February 15, 2022, there is a powerful DDOS attack on a number of information resources of Ukraine,” as said by Ukraine’s State Service for Special Communication and Information Protection. “In particular, this caused interruptions in the work of web services of Privatbank and Oschadbank. The websites of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine were also attacked.”
While the Ukrainian military ministry’s website is down, Oschadbank’s website is still up and running, albeit users are unable to access their online banking accounts. The website of Privatbank was similarly attacked earlier, with the attackers deleting the website’s contents and replacing them with a message reading “BUSTED! PRIVATBANK WAF is watching you)”.
Privatbank customers have been experiencing issues with payments and the bank’s mobile app, as revealed by the Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security in a Facebook message. Some said they couldn’t get into their Privat24 online banking accounts, while others said they saw inaccurate balances and recent transactions.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) claimed that the nation is being targeted in a massive wave of hybrid warfare to instill fear and undermine Ukrainians’ faith in the state’s capacity to safeguard them. The SSU further stated that it has previously thwarted many such attempts related to hostile intelligence organizations and dismantled bot farms aimed at instilling fear in Ukrainian residents through bomb threats and fake news.
According to the country’s Computer Emergency Response Team, attacks against Ukrainian authorities are being organized by the Gamaredon hacking organization (connected to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) by Ukrainian security and secret agencies). One day later, the SSU said it had blocked over 120 cyberattacks aimed at Ukrainian governmental institutions in January 2022. Microsoft also revealed that Gamaredon has been directing a wave of spear-phishing emails targeting Ukrainian businesses and organizations relevant to Ukrainian issues since October 2021.