SSU helps repel new russian cyber attacks on Kyivstar – Illya Vitiuk

The SSU’s cyber units have helped to repel new cyber attacks by russia against one of the national mobile operators Kyivstar.

The head of the SSU Cyber Security Department Illya Vitiuk spoke about this in an interview with the international news agency Reuters.

‘The SSU not only helped Kyivstar to resume operations within a few days, but also to fend off new cyber attacks. After a large-scale hack, we prevented a number of attempts to cause even more damage to the operator. The enemy was hoping to strike several times in a row to keep people disconnected for as long as possible. In this case, other operators might not have been able to withstand the prolonged overload of their networks,’ Illya Vitiuk said.

Currently, the SSU continues to investigate the large-scale hacking of Kyivstar under several Articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

‘SSU cyber specialists are examining samples of malware used by the enemy. The attack had been carefully prepared during many months,’ the SSU cyber security chief revealed.

Illya Vitiuk confirmed the Sandworm hacking group was behind the attack. They are a unit of russia’s military intelligence that has previously carried out numerous cyber attacks on Ukrainian targets, including telecommunications operators and Internet providers.

According to Vitiuk, the cyber attack had a significant impact on the civilian population. However, it did not seriously affect military communications, as the Defence Forces use different algorithms and communication protocols.

Immediately after the incident, the SSU’s response team and an operational and investigative team arrived at the company’s offices to document and investigate all the circumstances of the hack.

The Service’s cyber specialists worked directly at the scene, providing assistance to Kyivstar staff, engaging international cyber security companies and coordinating efforts of all government agencies to restore the network.

In total, the SSU has thwarted nearly 9,000 cyber attacks on Ukraine’s government resources and critical infrastructure facilities since the start of russia’s full-scale invasion.