NATO & Ukraine Agree Deeper Cyber Co-operation

NATO has quickly signed a deal with Ukraine to strengthen its cyber support after a damaging attack against Kyiv, when more than 70 government websites were hacked. Ukrainian government computer systems were pentrated and covert 'wiper' malware installed

It appears that the malware lay dormant on some systems for months before dropping their malicious code onto the networks. 

These attacks have prompted fears that Russia could be plotting an invasion and according to the Ukrainian Digital Development Ministry “All evidence indicates that Russia is behind the cyber attack." The Kremlin has denied Russian involvement. 

The intrusions were only discovered when dozens of government agencies in Ukraine were suddenly targeted in a defacement campaign in which hackers replaced the main web page of about a dozen sites with a politically charged message and attempted to deface others. The same day the defacements occurred, Microsoft discovered the destructive wiper code on the systems of a handful of entities in Ukraine, this included government agencies and at least one IT company now believed to be the Ukrainian software and web site development firm called Kitsoft.

NATO Security General Jens Stoltenberg said experts were already working with Ukraine to tackle these most recent cyber attack. 

The new agreement with Ukraine will enhance cyber cooperation and allow Ukrainian access to NATO’s malware information sharing platform and identify where training may be needed for Ukrainian personnel. The recent cyber attacks on Ukraine came as tensions have soared between Moscow and the West over allegations the Kremlin could be plotting a fresh incursion into its neighbour after massing some 100,000 troops at the border. Western allies have warned that a land invasion of Ukraine could be preceded by a hacking attack to knock out key infrastructure in Ukraine. 

Microsoft has said that the recent cyber attacks could prove destructive and affect more organisations than initially feared, adding that it was continuing to analyse the malware and warned it could render government digital infrastructure inoperable. 

Described as a possible Master Boot Record (MBR) wiper, Microsoft says the malware is executed when an impacted device is powered down and disguises itself as ransomware, but lacks a ransom recovery mechanism and is intended to be destructive and permanently disable targeted devices.

Moscow and NATO allies failed to make a breakthrough to ease tensions over Ukraine at high-stakes talks last week. The Kremlin has laid down a series of demands to NATO and the United States, including ruling out granting Ukraine membership in the alliance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that experts from NATO and its members were already on the ground, working with Ukraine to tackle the latest cyber attack. Relations between NATO and Ukraine date back to the early 1990s. Cooperation has deepened over time and is mutually beneficial, with Ukraine actively contributing to NATO-led operations and missions.

NATO:      Microsoft:    Zero Day:    Talos:     Oodaloop:     Security Week:    Times of Israel:     

Ecomonic Times:    AA / Anodolu 

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