back to article Ukraine shrugs off mass govt website defacement as world turns to stare at Russia

A "massive" cyber attack on Ukraine caught the world's eye this morning as the country's foreign ministry said its website, among others, had been taken down by unidentified hackers. The attack, which took place overnight, saw websites for the foreign ministry, ministerial cabinet, security and defence council, treasury and …

  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Keep up the Good Work ..... Your Country Needs You ‽ .

    Crikey, there’s a heck of a lot of uncertain speculation in that article, Gareth, which paints again that old "Reds under the Bed" picture the West is so fond of oft presenting to create and/or maintain ..... well, for certain it is at least FUD with there being precious little evidence of anything else more sinister or helpful.

    Didn’t you get the memo? ....... Russia are the Good Guys nowadays

    1. Lon24 Silver badge

      Re: Keep up the Good Work ..... Your Country Needs You ‽ .

      Well I, for one, hope it's the Ruskies and it's substitute for real war.

      It's an evil situation out there and Russia is trying to intimidate (or get even if you are Moscowbot). Hacking websites hurts less than hacking cities with bombs. Fingers crossed the animosity can be kept to the negotiating table and cyberspace. Not on the frozen turf where people do get hurt and worse.

      Phoney wars are better than real ones.

      1. fargoneicehole

        Re: Keep up the Good Work ..... Your Country Needs You ‽ .

        it is a prelude Putin is priming for all baltic states he wants soviet 2.0

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Keep up the Good Work ..... Your Country Needs You ‽ .

          I doubt it, but such is geopolitics.

          The USSR collapsed due to a combination of overspending on the arms race, and having to subsidise it's client states. Basically the model the EU is facing.

          So that left Russia to go it alone, and develop it's own industry, agriculture and economy. And being a rather massive country with a shedload of natural resources, it's been doing pretty well. So it doesn't really need Ukraine. Sanctions have also helped, forcing Russia to become more sef-reliant, and get closer to China.

          Meanwhile, Ukraine got royally screwed with it's colour revolution and rush to embrace the EU. So accession means meeting the EU's membership requirements, which are onerous. They're also protectionist. So a large part of Ukraine's economy is agriculture, thanks to it's rich farmland. But it lost it's biggest trading partner, Russia, and got a small quota to trade with the EU in return.

          And then there's the teeny problem with Ukraine's far-right wing ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazism. That's pretty much a west vs east thing, with people in the east identifying more as Russian. In the west, people recently celebrated Stepan Bandera, who was a Nazi collaborator who's organisation massacred Poles and Jews. Plus some in the west seem to want to recreate the Kingdom of Galacia-Volhynia. Poland may object.

          So basically Ukraine is a basket case, and could be a huge drain on the EU. But that's probably what the US wants. There are a lot of double standards though. The US and NATO station troops on Russia's borders, but Russia gets told it shouldn't move it's own forces inside it's own borders.

          But such is politics. My guess is Ukraine's looking for a pretext to take back it's Eastern break-away provinces, which will likely get rather bloody. Especially if Russia intervenes.

  2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

    Despite assurances from Western leaders and NATO commanders …

    … that Ukraine will not become a formal member of the counter-Russian alliance,

    Given the events of 1990, with US Secretary of State James Baker’s “not one inch eastward” assurance regarding NATO expansion, it shouldn’t be surprising if Russian decision makers don’t consider current assurances from Western leaders and NATO commanders regarding NATO actions in the best light.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Despite assurances from Western leaders and NATO commanders …

      The problem is the more Russia is aggressive, the more countries that doesn't want to fall under Russian control again want to enter NATO to be protected. It's not really NATO trying to expand.

      If Putin adopted a far different approach, there would have been no hurry.

      But as KGB taught them, trying to blame the others for your own faults it's the way to go, they read that in Aesop "The Wolf and the Lamb".

      1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        If Putin adopted a far different approach, there would have been no hurry.

        How so? The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO on 1999-03-12, which was before Putin even became a First Deputy Prime Minister under Yeltsin.

        1. Zanzibar Rastapopulous

          Re: If Putin adopted a far different approach, there would have been no hurry.

          Isn't that their choice rather than Russia's?

          1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

            Re: If Putin adopted a far different approach, there would have been no hurry.

            My point is not whose choice it is, but what effect any “far different approach” by Putin before 1999-03-12 would have had on their choice.

    2. Blazde Silver badge

      Re: Despite assurances from Western leaders and NATO commanders …

      The sad reality is that such assurances can only be given now because Ukraine is unstable and under threat from Russia, and hence not actually wanted in NATO. Putin knows that so he can't simply withdraw the threat and leave Ukraine to it's own devices. The best case scenario now is probably that he judges an unstable Ukraine is more valuable than a wholly occupied Ukraine, and the threat of mega-sanctions is enough to dissuade him from formally annexing the eastern half.

      Meanwhile he knows given half a chance the West would happily push Russia itself toward being a stable liberal democracy with NATO membership. That wasn't looking completely unlikely 20 years ago, and it's probably an even more desired scenario now since China's rise (for the West, but perhaps also for Russia's citizens). No words from temporarily elected politicians are going to change that long-term geopolitical reality. Even a dramatically signed international treaty won't do anything if a future Russian regime wants to tear it up - not that Putin's Russia respects international treaties much anyway.

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Despite assurances from Western leaders and NATO commanders …

      It isn't to Russia to decide if Ukraine should be part of NATO or not. As long as it is not totally invaded, Ukraine is a sovereign state, so it should decide by itself.

      Russia has a trend to invade its neighbours to gain territories (Moldavia, Georgia, Ukraine...). I understand why they want to be protected from the Russian imperialism.

  3. quadibloc2

    The Issue

    The people of the Ukraine are human beings.

    Therefore, they have the right to live in freedom under a democratic government, with no concern whatsoever about the possibility of foreign aggressiion of any sort whatsoever. (Incidentally, this also applies to the people of Taiwan, who also are human beings.)

    Their rights have already been violated twice.

    Russia invaded the Crimea.

    After this, the Russian government stated that it did not want any other part of the Ukraine's territory.

    But subsequent to that, the eastern Ukraine was invaded by Russian soldiers - just not in uniform, as "volunteers".

    Sanctions didn't prevent that, so there is no reason to expect that they wouldn't prevent a second invasion of the Ukraine. So U.S. and NATO troops should be deployed immediately to the line of control in the Ukraine, so as to render a Russian invasion of the Ukraine genuinely impossible, thus ending the crisis.

    Not that Russia will escape sanctions.

    Until Belarus has undergone regime change, for diverting an Irish passenger airplane, Russia, for obstructing this, should remain under punishing sanctions.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: The Issue

      The notion that "Russia Invaded Crimea" might be repeated over and over but it doesn't mean its true. There were significant military forces in the area in 2014, they're the garrisons of the military facilities that have been on that peninsula for hundreds years. These facilities aren't in Ukraine -- when the area was divided up in the 1960s they remained as "Federal Reservations".

      So you didn't have "an invasion" because the forces were already there. Its also a bit fanciful to expect the Russians to just shrug and abandon their naval facilities to NATO; this area has been part of Russia for hundreds of years (you may have heard of the "Crimea War"...).

      As for the Donbass, and Ukraine in general, its worth looking up the history of the region. Its too complicated for a Reg post but suffice to say Ukraine is less a country than a region and as such there are no hard ethic borders. Its also worth remembering that much of the fighting in WW2 took place in the Ukraine and while we might be able to shape history and opinion in the West to our tastes the history in that region is both current and personal. Russia was invaded by a European coalition -- Germany was the main participant but the force that invaded this area included participants from most countries in the modern EU (including Spain, Italy, Romania and Hungary). Since this was a war of conquest and genocide we should tread carefully when dealing with this area.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "as such there are no hard ethic borders"

        Especially since forced relocations and deportations under Soviet ruled ensured that...

        "including Spain"

        Spain didn't participate in WWII, or UK would have lost Gibraltar immediately... moreover the same countries invaded most of the modern EU as well.

        Meanwhile Russia invaded Finland, the Baltic Republics, and Poland - together that very Germany...

        Then Russia invaded half of Europe, and now those countries really want to avoid to find Russians again in their streets....

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Spain didn’t participate in WWII

          martinusher didn’t state that Spain participated in WWII — he’d stated that

          the force that invaded this area [Russia] included participants from most countries in the modern EU (including Spain, Italy, Romania and Hungary).

          The 250th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht, the “División Azul”, most certainly included participants from Spain.

        2. HildyJ Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: "as such there are no hard ethic borders"

          Spain, under Franco, invited the Nazi's into Spain and allowed them to perfect civilian bombing with Stukas and concentration camps. My great grandfather died in one.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: The Issue

        We know what we are told, I mean the propaganda that we are the most susceptible to becomes our truth.

        The same thing can look very different through other eyes.

      3. Zanzibar Rastapopulous

        Re: The Issue

        > "The notion that "Russia Invaded Crimea" might be repeated over and over but it doesn't mean its true."

        It is actually true though.

        Russia had already agreed Ukraine's borders in the Budapest memorandum of 1994. Agreed the sovereignty of Ukraine, and even agreed to help protect it.

        This deal was done in order to dispose of the world's third largest nuclear weapons stockpile.

        Giving up that kind of power deserves respect. Russia's actions have ensured that no-one will ever do it again. Well done Vlad.

      4. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: The Issue

        "this area has been part of Russia for hundreds of years"

        You mean since 1783, when Russia invaded and annexed the independent country of Crimea? So apparently your entire justification for Russia invading and annexing it is that Russia has previously invaded and annexed it. And far from being Russian for hundreds of years, it's been part of Russia for less than 200 years in its entire history.

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Russia continues posturing, posing and making laughable demands.

    Well, they might be laughable without 100,000 troops stationed in readiness on the Ukrainian border.

    Putin knows that he cannot expect to invade and hold Ukraine but that there are plenty of other options, which might provide some relief for the costs of supplying the occupied Crimea via ships and a bridge and a welcome distraction for the Russian population.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Russia continues posturing, posing and making laughable demands.

      Ukraine borders one of Russia's largest military districts, with a couple of Guards regiments based there. So it's also got exercise / training areas there. One happens to be 300 miles from Russia's border, so satellite pics show troops doing routine traing. Or gets hyped up as a prelude to invasion. Just as well we have good relations with France so they don't cry 'invasion' every time we have exercises on Salisbury Plain.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Russia continues posturing, posing and making laughable demands.

        So the invasion of Crimea and the proxy conflicts in Donetsk and Luhansk are just figments of our imagination? FWIW I happen to know a couple of Ukrainians and they are taking the current build up of Russian troops very seriously. Hardly surprising considering they're in the reserves.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Russia continues posturing, posing and making laughable demands.

          Crimea wasn't invaded. Coup, new nationalist and anti-Russian government, removal of regional autonomy and Crimea voted to rejoin Russia. People seem to forget that Crimea was/is the Black Sea Fleet base and strategically important for Russia's access to the Med. Denying that was probably one of the coup goals, but rather backfired. Rather than evicting Russia, it's now entrenched and invested in additional Black Sea facilities.

          Oops

          Much the same happened with Syria's 'regime change' with the idea of installing a puppet government government being foiled by the Syrians. Then supported by Russia, and now signed up to China's development and trade initiatives.

  5. martinusher Silver badge

    Invasion Literature

    There's a whole genre of literature called Invasion Literature which is a bit like science fiction ("War of the Worlds") but instead of the invaders coming from space they're from Continental powers. Invading powers would start off as countries like Russia (Tsar Nicholas II as "The Bad Boy of Europe") but throughout the Edwardian era Germany became the omnipresent enemy.

    Its not just old authors like William de Querx who push these stories. We've been fed lines about invaders many, many, times in the past and by and large they've all turned out to be false, they're just selling an agenda. They're also dangerous; we got a bunch of lies sold to us about Iraq, for example, and this led to the prosecution of a war that did untold damage and cost us a fortune. I have no desire to get involved in yet more wars, we've just escaped Afghanistan ("we" in this case is the US) at some exorbitant cost and being the sore loser that we are our interest isn't in helping the Afghanis feed themselves and keep warm but how this might play out in some giant Central Asian chessboard and what moves we have to make to counter "the other".

    (The obvious conclusion is that the people who play these games aren't interested in our welfare, either. Historically we're just cannon fodder.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Invasion Literature

      Interesting. I wonder which aggressor countries (or perhaps even alliances, axi, or treaty organizations, I suppose?) feature in Russian versions of "invasion literature"?

      My favorite British example is Chadwick's "The Death Guard", in which the UK creates a sort of fast-growing plant-based super soldier, and then invades Europe by firing gliders full of them over the Channel. But that's the wrong way around, I guess, since Chadwick was English; although if I recall it does end badly for the UK. Perhaps I mis-remember the plot.

  6. werdsmith Silver badge

    It would be possible for a trouble making belligerent to carry out a cyber attack whilst giving an impression of being a particular power. If they were intent on kicking off some trouble. Or some faction within a particular power might decide to flex their muscles and test their skills.

  7. Grunchy

    Well I read the Ukrainian internet news every single morning first thing when I wake up, and I was so shocked with fright I nearly went catatonic! You bunch might guffaw and say, “who cares” and I’m telling you I nearly had a cardiac event.

    Obviously my lawer was promptly notified to fire up the sueage apparatus, yet again…

  8. A random security guy Bronze badge

    Salami tactics

    The Russians are using salami tactics. First take a small part, something you will not start a war over. Then take another. Then another. Soon you have one tiny slice left. And that too is nothing to fight over.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Salami tactics

      Alternatively, people rush to blame the usual suspects. So Ukraine reckons it may have been Belarusians. Or it could have been skiddies. As a prelude to kinetic diplomacy though, exploiting an ancient vulnerability to vandalise some websites doesn't seem that serious.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Salami tactics

        Belarusians are Russian proxies. It's a failed state entirely controlled by Putin.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Long Game

    *If* an invasion by Russia of Ukraine were to come to pass, is there *anyone* who seriously thinks the USA,UK,EU, NATO, I mean, choose your poison here, would act to defend (i.e. send front line troops?)

    There's one glaring omission in the rhetoric about Russian interest(s) in Ukraine.

    And that is the port of Odessa.

    Nordstream 2 (LNG pipeline between Germany and Russia) will cut out Baltic States, Ukraine included.

    We had Georgia/Ossetia annexed. Crimea/Donbas annexed. Belarus? Łukashenko still in power. Oh and now Kazakhstan.

    I don't buy into the "Putin wants to reconstruct the Iron Curtain stuff". Arguing against military action against a foreign aggressor in a foreign land, all that I can understand.

    "Russia is an Energy Company with a country attached" (sic? John McCain). But Nordstream 2 we will live to regret.

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    I hope that in the meantime western countries are providing to Ukraine all the means possible to help Ukraine to defend itself. Let's not make the error of 1938 again.

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