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DDoS attacks take down Ukraine’s state-owned banks, military

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence, Armed Forces, and two state-owned banks, namely PrivatBank and Oschadbank, are under Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attacks. The Ukrainian Cyberpolice also added that bank customers are receiving emails stating that bank ATMs are down, which according to their report, is an information attack and isn’t real. The Cyberpolice’s website is down at the time of writing. 

The Ministry of Defence also said that the website was threatened by DDoS as they recorded an excessive number of requests per second. Their website has been down following the attack. According to Ukraine’s State Service for Special Communication and Information Protection, the attacks started on February 15. 

As for the banks, while their sites are still accessible, customers cannot log in to their online banking account. The Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security further added a Facebook post that PrivatBank users are reporting issues with payments and the bank’s mobile app. 

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Preparing for War?

Some Privatbank users have reported that their Privat24 internet banking accounts were inaccessible, while some others reported incorrect balances and recent transactions. To stop any external traffic, PrivatBank’s firewall implemented a geofencing rule removing the website’s contents for any IP outside of Ukraine and displaying a message warning the visitor that they’re being watched instead. However, at the time of writing, the website seems normal, at least when accessed from India. 

On Monday, Ukraine’s Security Service (SSU) reported that the country is being targeted in a wave of hybrid warfare attempting to trigger anxiety and bring down its confidence in its ability to defend itself. The SSU’s website is down at the time of writing as well. 

The country’s Computer Emergency Response Team had warned of attacks against government entities by the Gamaredon hacking group, whose links to the Russian Federal Security Service have already been provided by the SSU itself. 

This isn’t the first cyberattack Ukraine has endured recently, either. Nearly a month ago, on January 14, multiple Ukrainian government sites were temporarily disabled by hackers who left messages warning visitors to expect the worst. Additionally, the Belarusian Railway was hit by hacktivist ransomware just ten days later to halt Russian troop movement through the country. 

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