Tensions with Russia have escalated in recent weeks after Moscow rounded up around 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. Experts say they expect any invasion to have a cybernetic component, which is an integral part of modern “hybrid” warfare.
Demedyuk told Reuters in written comments that the downgrade “was just a cover for more destructive actions that were taking place behind the scenes and the consequences of which we will feel in the near future.” The story was not elaborated and Demedyuk could not immediately be reached for comment.
Oleh Derevianko, a prominent private-sector expert and founder of cybersecurity firm ISSP, told the AP he didn’t know how severe the damage was. He added that it was also unclear what else the attackers could have done after breaking into KitSoft, the developer exploited it to seed the malware.
In 2017, Russia targeted Ukraine with one of the most damaging cyberattacks on record with the NotPetya virus, causing over $10 billion in damage worldwide. This virus, also disguised as ransomware, was a so-called “windshield wiper” that wiped out entire networks.
Ukraine has suffered the unfortunate fate of being the global testing ground for cyber conflict. Russian state-backed hackers nearly thwarted the 2014 national elections and briefly crippled parts of its power grid in the winters of 2015 and 2016.