Upcoming Ukraine elections in the crosshairs of hackers

Pierluigi Paganini January 26, 2019

The Ukrainian authorities are observing a surge in allege state-sponsored attacks aimed at disrupting the upcoming presidential election.

Ukraine reported a surge in cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the upcoming presidential election, the Government believes that Russian nation-state actors could be responsible for them.

The news was reported by Reuters, attackers intensified attacks against the Ukrainian government and political party, according to the experts with the clear intent of disrupting the presidential election scheduled for March.

According to Pro-Western President Petro Poroshenko, likely to stand in the elections, declared that Russia will attempt to interfere in the election and has developed a powerful cyber arsenal to do it.

“This is not just our take. The Russian meddling to influence Ukraine’s elections is well under way,” Petro Poroshenko told foreign diplomats.

President opponent is the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which is also known to be pro-Western.

Threat actors are carrying out spear-phishing attacks against election officials, in some cases, they are using stolen credentials purchased on the dark web. Techniques used by attackers are similar to ongoing cyberattacks on Ukrainian energy, transport, and banking industries.

“Serhiy Demedyuk told Reuters the attackers were using virus-infected greeting cards, shopping invitations, offers for software updates and other malicious “phishing” material intended to steal passwords and personal information.” reported Reuters.

“Ten weeks before the elections, hackers were also buying personal details of election officials, Demedyuk said, paying in cryptocurrency on the dark web, part of the internet accessible only through certain software and typically used anonymously.”

Authorities confirmed that hackers did not penetrate national election infrastructure

Of course, Russia has denied any involvement in hacking campaigns aimed at Ukraine’s elections.

“Russian state structures have never interfered, and are not interfering, in the internal affairs of other countries.” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The cyber police and experts worry that state-sponsored hackers could hit critical infrastructure in energy and banking industries.

In 2017, NotPetya attack hit thousands of computers in Ukraine before spreading worldwide, alleged Russia-linked hackers compromised the supply chain of the Ukrainian tax accounting system called MeDoc.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Ukraine elections, Russia)

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