A ‘massive’ hacking attack hit government websites in Ukraine

A “massive” cyberattack has taken down several government websites in Ukraine, including the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Science.

A Ukrainian police statement says the cyber attackers left “provocative messages” on the main pages of government websites, which were taken offline – but no personal data was altered or stolen.

The country’s cyber-police department is working with the Special State Communications Service and Ukraine’s Security Service to investigate the attacks. As of Friday morning, some websites have been restored, while others remain offline.

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“Following a massive cyberattack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily unavailable. Our specialists have already begun to restore the work of computer systems, and cyberpolice have opened an investigation,” Oleg Nikolenlo, spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, said on Twitter.

Websites affected by the attack include those of the Ukrainian cabinet, a number of ministries and the State Services website, which stores e-passports and vaccination certificates.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said the European Union was mobilizing “all its resources” to help Ukraine in the wake of the cyberattack.

“This deserves the strongest condemnation,” he told reporters, according to Bloomberg, adding: “Of course I can’t point fingers at anyone as I have no proof, but we can imagine.”

As of now, no one has explicitly claimed responsibility for the attack or made concrete accusations about its origin. However, he came a few hours after the EU renewed economic sanctions against Russia for another six months.

Russia has previously been accused of carrying out a number of different cyberattacks against Ukraine, including one that disrupted energy supplies, causing power cuts in December 2015.