Large-scale cyberattack takes down Ukraine’s leading mobile operator

December 13,2023 557
Large-scale cyberattack takes down Ukraine’s leading mobile operator

On the morning of December 12, Ukraine’s largest mobile operator, Kyivstar, announced a technical disruption in its network. Users could not use mobile communication, mobile internet, home internet, or the company’s official website. Half of the country’s population – approximately 24 million people – were cut off from communications, as reported by the Ukrainian publication Ekonomichna Pravda.

Within a few hours, Kyivstar announced that the network had experienced a powerful cyberattack, partially disrupting the system’s infrastructure. The outage affected national roaming. Subsequently, the Ukrainian bank Monobank also reported a massive DDoS attack, while other operators, Lifecell and Vodafone, reported a significant increase in inquiries amid the incident.

Ukraine’s Security Service has initiated a criminal investigation under eight articles of the Criminal Code after the cyberattack, suspecting Russian special services. Meanwhile, the mobile operator assured that there has been no clients’ personal data leakage since this information is stored on other infrastructure elements.

The cyberattack has resulted in the most significant disruption among all Ukrainian operators in recent years, according to Oleksandr Fediienko, the head of the subcommittee on cybersecurity in the Ukrainian Parliament. The attack on Kyivstar is seen as the outcome of extensive and grandiose efforts by hackers, as reported by journalists.

“We have observed and recorded a 400% increase in cyber and hacker attacks since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. We have been dealing with this constantly. Currently, this is the most powerful attack since the start of the major war,” stated Anna Zakharash, the Director of Corporate Communications at Kyivstar, in an interview with NV.

Meanwhile, a Major of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Deputy Commander of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, Maksym Zhorin, stated that Ukraine is on the verge of a new stage of confrontation with Russia.

“Hacker attacks on banks and communication networks, even for the most war-weary, must convey a simple truth – we are on the brink of a new stage of confrontation, and it certainly won’t be easier. There will be no peace or rest,” wrote Zhorin.

Cover: AFP

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