On Friday, the White House blamed Russia for this week’s attacks on the defense ministry and key banks of Ukraine, predicting more substantial disruptions in the coming days. According to Anne Neuberger, the Biden administration’s deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies, the US quickly attributed Tuesday’s strikes to Russian military intelligence operatives.
As tensions between Russia and Ukraine rise, Britain has joined the United States in accusing the GRU military intelligence agency of distributed denial-of-service operations. Neuberger said that the attacks, which took down government websites and a few big banks for much of the day, had “minimal impact” since Ukrainian officials could rapidly restore service. However, she believes the Russians are building the basis for more disruptive measures in a cyberattack on Ukraine.
“We do expect that should Russia decide to proceed with a further invasion of Ukraine, we may see further destabilizing or destructive cyber activity, and we’ve been working closely with allies and partners to ensure we’re prepared to call out that behavior and respond,” as said by Neuberger.
She continued saying that the US was openly accusing the Kremlin because it needed to call the behavior out as soon as possible. The international community must be ready to expose harmful cyber activity and hold actors responsible for any disruptive or destructive cyber activity.
According to the British Foreign Office, the cyberattack “showed a continued disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty. This activity is yet another example of Russia’s aggressive acts against Ukraine.” Neuberger said that although there was no evidence suggesting a cyberattack targeted the United States, there are still risks because of the financial system’s lack of “cyber resilience.”
Ukrainian officials described the denial-of-service attacks on Tuesday as the worst in the country’s history. However, while they interrupted online banking, slowed certain government-to-public connections, and were designed to induce panic, they were not particularly dangerous by global or historical standards, according to Roland Dobbins, the top DDoS engineer at a cybersecurity company, Netscout.