The Ukrainian government has accused Russia of being behind Friday’s cyber-attack on dozens of official websites. About 70 websites were taken down in the Ukraine cyber attack, the largest against the country in four years.
The suspected Russian hackers left a message on the foreign ministry website, according to reports. It said: “Ukrainians! … All information about you has become public. Be afraid and expect worse. It’s your past, present and future.”
The message reproduced the Ukrainian flag and map crossed out. It mentioned the Ukrainian insurgent army, or UPA, which fought against the Soviet Union during the second world war. There was also a reference to “historical land”.
Most of the sites were restored within hours. The US and NATO have both condemned the Ukraine cyber attack, thought to be a result of the stalled talks between the two entities and Russia. Experts at Ukraine’s information ministry published a timeline of how news of the attack spread, pointing out that Russian media reported it before Ukrainian outlets.
Sweden’s foreign minister, Ann Linde, said the west must stand up to any Russian aggression. “We have to be very firm in our messages to Russia, that if there are attacks against Ukraine, we will be very harsh and very strong and robust in our response,” she said. Sweden stood in solidarity with Kyiv, she added.
At the start of Friday’s Ukraine cyber attack, a message on the hacked websites was posted in three languages, Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.
“Ukrainian! All your personal data has been uploaded onto the public internet,” the message read. It continued: “This is for your past, your present and your future.”
The Polish language message contained serious errors and did not appear to have been written by a native speaker, according to a statement issued by Poland’s government. It also blamed Russia for the hack.
On Thursday, Russian envoys sounded a bleak note after discussions this week with the OSCE in Vienna, as well as Nato and the US. Sergei Ryabkov, who led Russia’s delegation, said talks had hit a dead end. Russia has published a list of demands that NATO and the US have deemed ‘unacceptable’.
On Friday Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would not wait indefinitely for a response. “We have run out of patience,” he said at a news conference. “The west has been driven by hubris and has exacerbated tensions in violation of its obligations and common sense.”
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