Hacker Attack On Ukraine: Ukraine Was Hit Hard By The Satellite Hack

Russia is also waging a cyber war in Ukraine. And it's slowly becoming clear that the hitherto mysterious hack of a communications satellite is part of the fight.

Ukrainian authorities have confirmed for the first time that a communications satellite hack caused serious problems on the first day of the war. Until now, the attack on the American satellite internet operator Viasat seemed puzzling given the damage that Russian tanks, artillery and rockets have been causing simultaneously on the ground. However, the cyber attack apparently served to disrupt the communications of Ukrainian army and security authorities in order to facilitate the Russian advance.

"It was a really big loss of communications right from the start of the war," said Victor Zhora, the deputy head of Ukraine's Agency for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, in a conversation conducted via Zoom.

In the early morning of February 24, not only Russian soldiers marched into Ukraine. Hackers also attacked the country. Their sabotage led, among other things, to the failure of tens of thousands of satellite modems across Europe. They are all connected to KA-SAT 9A, a fixed communications satellite that provides broadband internet to European customers. In the Czech Republic and France, for example, private users were hit, in Germany the service connections of thousands of wind turbines and the mobile control centers of some fire brigades  Probably collateral damage. Because the actual target of the hackers was apparently the Ukraine.

iPhones iOS 15.4 The Mask On

The attack was apparently not just about disrupting Internet access in general. The army and security services in Ukraine probably also used the Internet connections of the KA-SAT 9A satellite. At least the Reuters agency reported a few days ago that the army and security authorities of Ukraine have purchased various communication systems that work with the Viasat network in recent years. This emerges from contracts published on a Ukrainian transparency platform. Zhora, Ukraine's cybersecurity official, declined to say exactly which services were hit.

The NSA is also investigating

Private customers can also rent satellite internet from Viasat. But it is of particular interest to industry and authorities. The connection via the satellite also works when mobile communications and conventional lines on the ground fail or when they are not even available in remote areas. Therefore, not only Ukrainian authorities have booked the service, but also wind power companies and fire brigades in Germany.

Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Russian Cyberwar

It seems to be similar in other countries. In France, the cyber security authority ANSSI is therefore investigating the circumstances of the attack on KA-SAT 9A. In the USA, the NSA is interested in this – Viasat is a US company based in California.

The investigators now agree that it was a hack. The attackers managed to smuggle in a program disguised as an update for the receiver modems. Every modem that was switched on and loaded this update could no longer connect to the satellite and thus to the network. A large proportion of the modems were so badly damaged that they had to be replaced. In many cases it is not enough to install new software. That alone is amazing as it's not that easy to cause real damage with a digital attack.

Cyber ​​attacks are part of the invasion

The attackers are not yet known. When asked, the provider Viasat only says that they are investigating the case and are working with the authorities.

Do You Know What We Have Posted on

twitter facebook instagram reddit tumblr

Zhora also did not want to comment on the polluters and their origin. But he doesn't necessarily need further technical analysis to identify the attackers either, he said, referring to the Russian invasion and the fierce fighting that has been going on for the past three weeks.

Cyber ​​attacks play only a minor role in Russia's war against Ukraine, but they are clearly part of Russia's strategy. Weeks before the invasion, Russian hackers had begun causing disruption and confusion in Ukraine. For example, they use so-called wipers. These are malicious programs that render all data on the attacked computers unusable. Ukraine is currently experiencing the third wave of these wiper attacks. Zhora confirmed that his country is currently under attack with a program called Caddywiper.

Post a Comment