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Ukraine To Scrutinize Cyber Defenses Following Attack On Airport Linked To Russia

Ukraine To Scrutinize Cyber Defenses Following Attack On Airport Linked To Russia

by Elliot MarasJanuary 18, 2016

A cyber attack on Kiev’s main airport, Boryspil, has prompted a review of Ukrainian computer system defenses, including airports and railway stations, according to Reuters. Officials told Reuters the attack came from a server in Russia.

Officials detected malware last week in a computer in the airport’s IT network. The malware is similar to that which attacked three power utilities in late December.

While there is no suggestion the Russian government is involved, the attacks have occurred during a period of bad relations between Ukraine and Russia. There has been a two-year separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine To Review Anti-Virus Databases

Irina Kustovska, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian infrastructure ministry, said the ministry will review anti-virus databases in companies that are under its responsibility. The ministry oversees airports, ports and railways.

The state-run Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UA) warned there is a threat of more attacks.

Andriy Lysenko, a military spokesman, said the control center from where the attacks began is in Russia. He said there has been no damage, and the malware was detected early in the airport’s system.

Ukrainian authorities were trying to determine if the malware was connected to “BlackEnergy,” malicious software that has been linked to other cyber attacks in the Ukraine, an airport spokeswoman said. She said there are signs this is the case.

CERTA-UA released a statement recommending system administrators check information traffic and log-in files.

Three regional power firms in December suffered short-term blackouts due to malicious software in their networks, Hacked reported. The incident was the first known power outage caused by a cyber attack, according to experts.

Also read: How hackers disabled Ukraine power grid: Lessons for U.S. and Europe

Prior Attack Traced To Russian Group

In January, a U.S. cyber intelligence firm traced the attack to a group known as Sandworm, a Moscow-backed group, Hacked reported.

An outage at Western Ukraine’s Prykarpattyaoblenergo on Dec. 23 killed power to 80,000 customers for around six hours, a U.S. energy industry group reported.

SBU, Ukraine’s state security service, blamed Russia for the recent attack. The energy ministry, however, said it would wait until it completes a formal investigation before announcing blame.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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