Dark web hackers recently pulled down dozens of Ukrainian government websites, causing no real damage but escalated tensions between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. With the ongoing war induced saga, Russia had amassed its soldiers on the Ukrainian border.
Additionally, in an unusual gesture to the US during both countries strained relations, Russia announced the arrest of members of a large ransomware dark web group linked to the the targeted hacks on USA firms.
However, while neither episode seems related on the surface, they both correlate to a frenzy of activity. This development came after the United States publicly accused Moscow of plotting a new invasion of Ukraine and fabricating justification for doing so.
Cyber Hacks Could Cause Bloodshed
They highlighted the threat that cybersecurity has become in recent years. According to analysts, the increasing hostility could end in physical bloodshed and destructive cyber attacks that might impact Ukraine or perhaps the United States.
On Friday, the White House announced that it was still assessing the impact of the defacements, having described their current findings as “limited”. According to a reported statement, the interruptions targeted around 70 websites of national and regional government entities. However, the source of the reported attack by dark web hackers remains a mystery.
But despite a lack of clear attributions, suspicions seem to be levied on Russia. This might allude to the Russians having a history of victimizing Ukraine with devastating cyber attacks. According to early findings of an investigation, “hacker organizations affiliated to Russia’s intelligence agencies” were involved, according to Ukraine’s Security Service, the SBU.
70 Ukraine Websites Hacked
Reportedly, the majority of the 70 hacked websites had resumed operations and no critical alterations to the sites. Additionally, no personal data were stolen by the dark web hacking group. According to the SBU, the perpetrators hacked the infrastructure of a commercial business that had administrator access to websites targeted by the hack attack.
With the arrest of the dark web hackers, a senior administration official confirmed the White House appreciation of the arrests of the accused ransomware gang members. A report from Russia indicated that Moscow investigators carried out the arrest at the behest of USA officials.
According to the official, one of those detained has been linked to the Colonial Pipeline attack, which resulted in days of gas shortages in portions of the United States last year. However, they also added that majority of the dark web hackers arrested have nothing to do with the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Russia, Ukraine and USA War
Above all, Russia has a history of dark web cyber attacks against Ukraine, including a hacking attack on Ukraine’s voting system before the 2014 national elections. Another Russian hack against Ukraine involves dark web hackers hacking the country’s power grid in 2015 and 2016.
The most devastating attack launched by Russia against Ukraine happened in 2017 with the NotPetya virus. In that crippling hack, Russia’s dark web hackers targeted Ukrainian firms and caused more than $10 billion in worldwide damage.
However, even with the evidence gathered by cyber security analysts, Moscow has a notorious history of denying involvement in cyber attacks launched against Ukraine.