Ukrainian hackers, operating under the banner of the IT Army, made headlines by temporarily disabling internet services in parts of the country’s territories that have been occupied by Russia. This distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack targeted three Russian internet providers, specifically Miranda-media, Krimtelekom, and MirTelekom, which were operating in these occupied territories.
The Attack by IT Army
The IT Army, a group of cyber activists, claimed responsibility for this significant cyberattack via the messaging platform Telegram.
Their primary objective was to disrupt enemy military communication at the frontlines, a goal that has become increasingly important in today’s interconnected world. The hackers executed a well-coordinated DDoS attack, aiming to render the target’s systems unreachable by flooding them with junk traffic.
Impact on Russian Internet Operators
The attack on Friday had far-reaching consequences.
Russian internet operators confirmed an unprecedented level of DDoS attacks from Ukrainian hacker groups, leading to the temporary disruption of critical services. Cellular networks, phone calls, and internet connections were all affected, highlighting the severity of the attack.
Following the attack, Miranda-media, one of the affected operators, reported that they had successfully restored 80% of their services.
This included services provided to law enforcement agencies, government organizations, and socially significant services. The operator’s security experts noted that the DDoS attacks were carefully planned by cybercriminals, underscoring the sophistication of this operation.
Ongoing Disruptions in Crimea
Despite efforts to recover, internet connections in certain regions of Crimea remained disrupted on Saturday.
Operators were hard at work to enhance the network’s resilience, but this event shed light on the vulnerability of the region’s connectivity.
Russian Propaganda and Isolation
The Russian government’s actions in occupied territories have come under scrutiny. After occupying parts of eastern Ukraine and the Crimea peninsula, they disconnected Ukrainian telecommunications infrastructure and rerouted internet traffic through Russia’s network. This move has been widely criticized, with Ukraine suggesting that Russia aims to make its propaganda an uncontested source of information.
This isn’t the first time the IT Army has targeted Russian internet operators.
In October, they disrupted Crimean internet operators, even disabling surveillance cameras in a city in western Crimea. Their mission to isolate the peninsula’s logistics and infrastructure plays a crucial role in the eventual liberation of the area and the hindrance of military supplies.