European Union officials have condemned Friday’s cyberattack on Ukraine that shut down government and emergency services websites and pledged to use EU resources to assist the nation.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry reported Friday the websites of the country’s cabinet — seven ministries, including the treasury, the national emergency service and the state services, where Ukrainians’ electronic passports and vaccination certificates are stored — were temporarily unavailable Friday as a result of the hack.
The websites contained a message in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish, saying Ukrainians’ personal data has been leaked into the public domain. The message said, in part, “Be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future.”
Ukraine’s State Service of Communication and Information Protection told the Associated Press there was no evidence personal data has been leaked.
In a statement, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg strongly condemned the attacks, saying the alliance’s cyber experts have been exchanging information with their Ukrainian counterparts on “the current malicious cyber activities.” He said NATO allied experts in the country also are supporting the Ukrainian authorities.
“In the coming days, NATO and Ukraine will sign an agreement on enhanced cyber cooperation, including Ukrainian access to NATO’s malware information sharing platform,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brest, France, EU Foreign Affairs chief Josep Borrell issued the “strongest condemnation” of the attack and said an emergency meeting of the EU political committee would be held to discuss how to react. He pledged to “mobilize all our resources to help Ukraine” increase its cyberattack-resistance capability.
When asked if he knew who was behind the attack, Borrell said they are still investigating, noting it is often difficult to trace cyberattacks, though he added “I don’t have any proof, but one can guess …”
Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Russia has a long history of such attacks. The incident also follows weeks of apparently failed diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions on the border with Russia and Ukraine where Moscow has amassed an estimated 100,000 troops and equipment, raising fears of an imminent invasion.
Russia insists the troops are there for its own protection, but is demanding NATO provide guarantees it will stop its eastward expansion, beginning with not allowing Ukraine to join the alliance, a move Moscow perceives as a threat. NATO has repeatedly rejected that request, saying Russia has no veto over NATO membership.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.