Mass Cyberattacks Rock Ukraine As Crisis Intensifies

( Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a series of cyberattacks directed at Ukrainian government websites caused mayhem online on Monday. Ukrainian government websites were completely wiped from the Internet on Monday, including the websites of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ukrainian Embassy to the United States.

The attacks appeared to be designed to stop the people of Ukraine from accessing vital information that may help them flee the country and find safety.

Victor Zhora, the deputy director of the State Service of Special Communication, issued a statement insisting that the websites would only be down temporarily and that the disruption was caused by the “latest cyberattacks.” He also said that the IT infrastructure for the Ukrainian foreign ministry would be moved to a new location to make it harder for Russian hackers to cause further disruption.

In response to the attacks, several volunteer-organization cyberdefense and attack campaigns have begun firing back at Russia.

Anonymous, the world-famous hacking collective, also posted on a Twitter account with more than six million followers announcing that it would be engaging in a hacking campaign to take down Russian websites in response to the military invasion of Ukraine. A “denial of service” attack was soon launched against Russian government websites, and reports suggest that data was also stolen from Tetraedr, a Belarusian weapons manufacturer.

Tech news website WIRED also reports that volunteers are connecting through Telegram channels, and that more than 175,000 activist hackers have subscribed to take on a range of tasks to protect Ukraine against Russian aggression.

Some attacks, the news outlets reported, were made against energy provider Gazprom, as well as Russian banks and official government websites. Some hackers even listed the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense as possible targets.

If they succeed, this could well be the beginning of a new kind of warfare, and pave the way for cyber wars between governments in the future.

The question is…will cyber-attacks be enough to stop Russia from continuing to drop bombs on Ukraine?