As Russia Invaded, Hackers Broke Into A Ukrainian Internet Provider. Then Did It Again As Bombs Rained Down

One of Ukraine’s major internet providers was hacked twice – once in February just as Russia was invading and again on March 9, a source says. A major Ukrainian internet service provider says it was hacked twice. Sources tell Forbes that the first hack was in February, the second on March 9, and that the hackers managed to reset devices to factory settings.

In the last 24 hours, with Russia continuing its heavy bombardment across Ukraine, parts of the country have seen severe internet outages. One cause appears to be a cyberattack on telecoms provider Triolan, which serves a substantial number of users across the country.

Unverified reports circulated earlier today suggesting Triolan had been hit by an attack. Asked over Facebook if reports of a cyberattack were true, a spokesperson responded, “Yes, unfortunately, there are no details. Engineers are now working on restoring the Internet.”

Three other sources within the company and a former cofounder of the business said a cyberattack had occurred, with one claiming some of Triolan’s internal computers had stopped working because the “attackers reset the settings to the factory level.” They added that recovery was proving difficult because some equipment required physical access to restore, which was not possible due to the risk of life to personnel.

“We haven’t been able to pinpoint the source of the problem and we can’t pinpoint anyone at fault,” the source added. Another added that the attack landed on March 9, when internet outages began.

A post on the company’s Telegram page revealed that the company had, in fact been hacked twice. A source within the company said the first hack hit on February 24 as Russia moved tanks into the country, with the second on March 9, and that they had much the same effect.

Read more: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/internet-freedom-around-the-world-in-50-stats/

Triolan said “key nodes of the network” had been hacked and that some routers couldn’t be recovered. It said 70% of those nodes in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Poltava, Odesa, Rivne and Zaporizhia had been restored today.

There may be other reasons for disruption of telecoms at Triolan, given it is based in Kharkiv, which has been bombarded by Russian shelling. But a cyberattack on the internet service provider represents one of the more damaging hits in what has been a fairly muted cyber side to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Other attacks on Ukraine included attempts to install malware that would wipe PCs and a number of distributed denial of service attacks, which flooded government and banking websites with traffic to knock them offline.

The effects of the outage will have been felt across its subscriber base. “Triolan is one of the top destinations for internet traffic in Ukraine from our perspective, so it is safe to say that there are likely thousands of Ukrainians that are affected by this outage,” said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at Kentik, an internet monitoring company.

Data from the Internet Outage Detection and Analysis at the Georgia Institute of Technology showed a sudden drop off in connectivity for Triolan late Wednesday, which has continued throughout Thursday. NetBlocks, another global internet outage tracker, saw similar downtime.

Various outages across Ukraine have been caused by physical destruction of infrastructure. Wednesday saw “major internet disruption” registered across Kherson Oblast, in southern Ukraine, with downtime at providers Ukrtelecom and Volia.

I’m associate editor for Forbes, covering security, surveillance and privacy. I’m also the editor of The Wiretap newsletter, which has exclusive stories on real-world surveillance and all the

Source: As Russia Invaded, Hackers Broke Into A Ukrainian Internet Provider. Then Did It Again As Bombs Rained Down

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Critics:

Network data from NetBlocks confirm a series of significant disruptions to internet service in Ukraine from Thursday 24 February 2022. Disruptions have subsequently been tracked across much of Ukraine including capital city Kyiv as Russia’s military operation progresses.

On the morning of Thursday 24 February 2022, internet disruptions were registered in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. Also on the morning of 24 February, hours prior to the commencement of Ukraine’s invasion of Russia, the Viasat satellite internet network which serves Ukraine and much of Europe was knocked offline in a targeted cyberattack

On Saturday morning as the conflict reached Kyiv, a major disruption was registered to backbone internet provider GigaTrans, which supplies connectivity to several other networks.

While connectivity remained available through other routes and the disruption was brief, the incident is understood to have had significant impact to telecommunications infrastructure.

From 4 March 2022 NetBlocks tracked a loss of connectivity at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeast Ukraine, affecting fixed-lines and mobile services. The loss of communications was subsequently raised as a point of concern by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

On 9 March 2022, internet provider Triolan was targeted by a cyberattack for a second time, with the first instance having been observed on the morning of 24 February when invasion began. Both events have caused significant losses to connectivity at nation scale.

Read more: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/internet-freedom-around-the-world-in-50-stats/

On the night of Thursday 10 March, an attack on the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, which hosts an ADS neutron source facility, was labelled an “act of nuclear terrorism” by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine. The incident following attacks at Zaporizhzhia and Chernobyl has heightened concerns that Russia might be intentionally targeting nuclear sites.

What’s happening in Ukraine?

Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced military mobilization on the morning of Thursday 24 February 2022 and artillery was fired while as moved into Kharkiv about 25 miles from the Russian border. The security situation deteriorated through subsequent days with Ukrainian authorities advising civilians to get off the streets and seek shelter.

Beside the disruptions to telecommunications infrastructure documented in this report, cyber-attacks have disrupted Ukraine’s defence and banking sectors.

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