Ukrainian hacktivists hit NATO websites with DDoS attack

Pierluigi Paganini March 16, 2014

The group of hacktivists Cyber Berkut hit several NATO websites with DDoS attacks while in the Crimea is being a referendum on annexation to Russia.

Several NATO websites have been hit by cyber attacks while in the Crimea is being a referendum on annexation to Russia, the news has been reported by the principal media agencies including Reuters and The Guardian.

“The main NATO website, the website of a NATO-affiliated cyber security center in Estonia was also affected. The alliance said none of its essential systems were compromised.” states the Reuters.

Fortunately the cyber attacks against NATO web services have had no impact on the military alliance’s operations, a spokeswoman said. The group of hacktivists known as Cyber Berkut targeted the NATO websites with “significant DDoS (denial of service) attack”.

“Our experts working to restore normal function,” “No operational impact… The attack hasn’t affected the integrity of NATO’s systems.” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said via the social networking site Twitter.

NATO PRess twitter

The NATO has immediately started the necessary operations to restore normal function, I explained the role of hacktivism in the dispute between Russia and Ukraine in a recent post, many Russian and Ukrainian URLs have already been attacked as part of the #OpUkraine and #OpRussia campaigns, launched as usual on principal social networks like VK, Odnoklassniki and Facebook.

“Ukrainian activists are starting a hacking campaign against Russian websites. The Ukrainian site Bimba, which calls itself the “cyber weapon of the Maidan revolution,” is sustaining an online recruiting campaign for cyber volunteers wishing to participate in attacks against Russia.” 

Last week the group of Ukrainian hacktivists Cyber-Berkut published a list of 40 websites that it had hacked, and it included the state-funded broadcaster Russia Today, probably the most clamorous attack since now.

The Reuters described the group with the following statement:

“Cyber berkut is a reference to the feared and since disbanded riot squads used by the government of ousted pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.” 

Ukraines cyber warfare hacktivism Crimea NATO attack

A post on the page of the Cyber Berkut group on a popular social network reported the following message:

“Today, the “KiberBerkut” countdown begins. Traitors of Ukraine who have transgressed the laws of our homeland, you have nine days to voluntarily surrender to the prosecuting authorities or the Kharkov Simferopol.”

The post remarks that Russian “imposters” “have no right” to control Ukraine and must surrender to Ukraine.

The following message has appeared on the official web site of Ciber Berkut this morning:

“We affirm the termination KiberBerkut DDoS-attack resources, and draw the attention of European taxpayers wasting your money on software notorious cyber defense. If NATO can not protect their resources, the protection of personal data of ordinary Europeans can not be considered. “

The group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the hackers condemns the NATO not to be intervened in Crimea with its forces.

Tweet NAto Attack crimea


Let’s remind that pro-Russian armed soldiers without insignia seized numerous buildings in Crimea during the last weeks, including the parliament building, two airports, and structures belonging the Ukraine principal telecommunication provider, interrupting services with the rest of Ukraine.

NATO expressed dissent against Russian politic, calling the invasion unconstitutional and effectively an annexation of Ukraine’s sovereign territory.

“One could equate these cyber attacks against NATO as kicking sand into one’s face,” is the opinion expressed by John Bumgarner, chief technology officer at the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a non-profit research institute.

With the escalation of tensions in Crimea, the number of cyber attacks will sensibly increase, independently of the result of the referendum, there is the concrete risk that critical infrastructure of the country will be impacted in further offensives.

The fear of diplomacy experts is that the cyber dispute could have the same conclusion of the one occurred in 2008 when Russian entities hit Georgian websites and infrastructures before the Russian invasion.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Russia, Ukraines, NATO)

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