A powerful Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on Wednesday hit the websites of Ukraine’s defense ministry, public radio, and armed forces, along with national banks Privatbank and Oschadbank.
The attackers flooded the websites with web traffic in an attack powerful enough to take some services offline, making them inaccessible to Ukrainian citizens. This is reportedly one of the most powerful DDoS attacks to hit the country, according to the Ukrainian online media outlet Ukrainska Pravda.
While the attack didn’t impact Ukraine’s central bank, Oschadbank and Privatbank’s websites remained offline for two hours, and customers couldn’t use their mobile apps or make online payments.
Five hours after the attack, representatives of the banks said their websites were back online and operating “normally”.
Before the attack, some of Privatbank’s customers received SMS alerts notifying them that their ATMs were nonfunctional. Oleg Serga, a Privatbank spokesperson, said the bank didn’t send those text messages, however.
An investigation by Ukrainian cyber police concluded that the messages didn’t contain phishing links. Authorities believe the texts were an “information attack” aimed at confusing citizens.
Although the banks recovered quickly, Ukraine’s armed forces and defense ministry websites stayed offline for longer. Ukraine’s public radio was also impacted by the attack, but it didn’t knock the website offline.
This is not the first cyberattack to recently target Ukraine. Last month, hackers took offline and defaced several Ukrainian government websites after a series of diplomatic talks between Russian, US, and Ukrainian officials stalled. The attack impacted several websites, including the Ministry of Energy, State Emergency Service, State Treasury, and Ministry of Education and Science.