Russia brought down satellite internet in Ukraine – Western officials

  • US: Russian hack aims to disrupt Ukrainian communications
  • UK: Hack was ‘intentional and malicious’
  • EU: Viasat attack caused ‘random’ outages
  • Russia routinely denies carrying out cyberattacks

NEWPORT, Wales (Reuters) – The United States, Britain, Canada and the European Union said Russia was behind a massive cyber attack on a satellite internet that shut down tens of thousands of modems at the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. Tuesday.

The digital attack on the company Visa (VSAT.O) The KA-SAT network occurred in late February at the same time that Russian armored vehicles entered Ukraine. US Secretary of State Anthony Belkin said the cyber attack was aimed at “disrupting Ukrainian command and control during the invasion, and that those actions had spillover effects on other European countries.”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss described the satellite internet hack as “deliberate and malicious” and the European Union Council said it caused “random communications disruption” in Ukraine and many EU member states.

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The Viasat outage remains the most visible cyber attack carried out since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in part because the hack had direct consequences for satellite internet users across Europe and because malfunctioning modems are often replaced manually.

“After these modems went offline, it wasn’t like you unplugged them, plugged them back in, rebooted and then back again,” Rob Joyce, director of cybersecurity at the US National Security Agency, told Reuters on the sidelines of a cybersecurity conference on Tuesday.

“They were going down and down really hard; they had to go back to the factory to trade them in.”

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The exact consequences of the hack on the Ukrainian battlefield have not been announced, but government contracts reviewed by Reuters show that KA-SAT provided internet connectivity to Ukrainian army and police units. Read more

Ukrainian cybersecurity official Viktor Zora said in March that sabotage of the satellite modem caused a “huge loss of communications at the start of the war.” Read more

The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond with a letter seeking comment. Moscow routinely denies carrying out offensive cyber operations.

Viasat did not send a message right away. A Visat official told Reuters in late March that hackers involved in the initial sabotage effort were still trying to interfere with the company’s operations, although their impact is limited. L2N2VW2XC

A cyberattack destroying a satellite modem remains the most obvious hack of the war, but many others have occurred since then and not all have been publicized. Read more

“This was the biggest single event,” said Joyce. “It definitely had a fresh and new art, but there were several attacks.”

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James Pearson reports. Writing by Raphael Satter; Additional reporting by William James in London. Editing by William MacLean, Angus McSwan and Bernadette Baum

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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