US and its allies say Russia waged cyberattack that took out satellite network

Read Time:3 Minute, 34 Second


Cartoon padlock and broken glass superimposed on a Russian flag.

The US and European Union on Tuesday said Russia was responsible for a cyberattack in February that crippled a satellite network in Ukraine and neighboring countries, disrupting communications and a wind farm used to generate electricity.

The February 24 attack unleashed wiper malware that destroyed thousands of satellite modems used by customers of communications company Viasat. A month later, security firm SentinelOne said an analysis of the wiper malware used in the attack shared multiple technical similarities to VPNFilter, a piece of malware discovered on more than 500,000 home and small office modems in 2018. Multiple US government attributed agencies VPNFilter to Russian state threat actors.

Tens of thousands of modems taken out by AcidRain

“Today, in support of the European Union and other partners, the United States is sharing publicly its assessment that Russia launched cyber attacks in late February against commercial satellite communications networks to disrupt Ukrainian command and control during the invasion, and those actions had spillover impacts into other European countries,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a statement. “The activity disabled very small aperture terminals in Ukraine and across Europe. This includes tens of thousands of terminals outside of Ukraine that, among other things, support wind turbines and provide Internet services to private citizens.”

AcidRain, the name of the wiper analyzed by SentinelOne, is a previously unknown piece of malware. Consisting of an executable file for the MIPS hardware in Viasat modems, AcidRain is the seventh distinct piece of wiper malware associated with Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Wipers destroy data on hard drives in a way that can’t be reversed. In most cases, they render devices or entire networks completely unusable.

SentinelOne researchers said they found “non-trivial” but ultimately “inconclusive” developmental similarities between AcidRain and “dstr,” the name of a wiper module in VPNFilter. The resemblances included a 55 percent code similarity as measured by a tool known as TLSH, identical section header strings tables, and the “storing of the previous syscall number to a global location before a new syscall.”

Viasat officials said at the time that the SentinelOne analysis and findings were consistent with the outcome of their own investigation.

One of the first signs of the hack occurred when more than 5,800 wind turbines belonging to the German energy company Enercon were knocked offline. The outage didn’t stop the turbines from spinning, but it prevented engineers from remotely resetting them. Enercon has since managed to get most of the affected turbines back online and replace the satellite modems.

“The cyberattack took place one hour before Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 thus facilitating the military aggression,” EU officials wrote in an official statement. “This cyberattack had a significant impact causing indiscriminate communication outages and disruptions across several public authorities, businesses and users in Ukraine, as well as affecting several EU Member States.”

In a separate statement, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “This is clear and shocking evidence of a deliberate and malicious attack by Russia against Ukraine which had significant consequences on ordinary people and businesses in Ukraine and across Europe.”

Repeat cyber offender

The cyberattack was one of many Russia has carried out against Ukraine over the past eight years. In 2015 and again in 2016, hackers working for the Kremlin caused electricity blackouts that left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians without heat during one of the coldest months.

Starting around January 2022, in the lead-up to Russia’s invasion of its neighboring country, Russia unleashed a host of other cyberattacks against Ukrainian targets, including a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks, website defacements, and wiper attacks.

Besides the two attacks on Ukrainian electricity infrastructure, evidence shows Russia is also responsible for NotPetya, another disk wiper that was released in Ukraine and later spread around the world, where it caused an estimated $10 billion in damage. In 2018, the US sanctioned Russia for the NotPetya attack and interference in the 2016 election.

Critics have long said that the US and its allies didn’t do enough to punish Russia for NotPetya or the 2015 or 2016 attacks on Ukraine, which remain the only known real-world hacks to knock out electricity.


go to see more here in tech news

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %
We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
Cookies settings
Accept
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active

Who we are

Suggested text: Our website address is: https://updatednews24.com.

Comments

Suggested text: When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection. An anonymized string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: https://automattic.com/privacy/. After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.

Media

Suggested text: If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website.

Cookies

Suggested text: If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year. If you visit our login page, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser. When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select "Remember Me", your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed. If you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day.

Embedded content from other websites

Suggested text: Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website. These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Who we share your data with

Suggested text: If you request a password reset, your IP address will be included in the reset email.

How long we retain your data

Suggested text: If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognize and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue. For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

What rights you have over your data

Suggested text: If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Where we send your data

Suggested text: Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service.
Save settings
Cookies settings