Britain and the European Union said on Tuesday (May 10) that Russia was behind a massive cyberattack against a satellite Internet network that took thousands of modems offline at the onset of the war in Ukraine.
The digital assault against Viasat’s KA-SAT network in late February took place just as Russian armor pushed into Ukraine and helped facilitate President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the country, the Council of the EU said in a statement.
The statement said, “This cyber-attack had a significant impact causing indiscriminate communication outages and disruptions across several public authorities, businesses, and users in Ukraine, as well as affecting the several EU Member States.”
“This unacceptable cyberattack is yet another example of Russia’s continued pattern of irresponsible behavior in cyberspace, which also formed an integral part of its illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” it added.
The remote sabotage caused a “huge loss in communications at the very beginning of the war”, Ukrainian cybersecurity official Victor Zhora said in March.
Russia routinely denies it carries out offensive cyber operations. The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.
According to the reports, Western intelligence agencies, including the US National Security Agency, French government cybersecurity organization ANSSI, and Ukrainian intelligence were investigating Russia’s potential role in the attack in the days after it.
A British Foreign Office statement quoted Foreign Secretary Liz Truss as saying the cyberattack was a “deliberate and malicious attack by Russia against Ukraine”.
Russia’s primary target in the attack was the Ukrainian military, but it also disrupted wind farms and Internet users in central Europe, the statement said, citing Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre.