US Government Officials told The Washington Post that the Russian army was responsible for a cyber attack on a European satellite internet service in late February that affected Ukrainian military communications.
The hack affected the KA-SAT satellite broadband network, which is owned by Viasat, an American satellite communications company. On February 24, the day the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the KA-SAT network was hit by disruptions affecting Ukraine and surrounding regions in Europe. A few days later, Viasat attributes the failure to a ‘cyber event’, but did not release any further details.
While Ukrainian officials have not fully disclosed the impact, the outage believed to have caused significant communication failures at the start of the war.
The NSA would participate in an investigation with Ukrainian intelligence services, but results have not yet been officially announced. However, anonymous officials reportedly told the After that US intelligence analysts have now concluded that Russian military hackers were behind the attack.
A confirmation request sent by The edge to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) had not received a response at the time of publication.
Officials of Viasat told air force magazine that the attack was carried out by a compromise of the system that manages customer satellite terminals, and only affected customers of the KA-SAT network, a smaller broadband provider that Viasat bought last year from French satellite operator Eutelsat.
At the start of the conflict, commentators feared that Russia could launch widespread and destructive cyber attacks. While one perspective holds that such attacks have not materialized, the slow release of additional information lends credence to the suggestion that many attacks may have taken place in the shadows†
In the wake of the hack, CISA and the FBI have a joint cybersecurity advice to satellite communications providers, warned the agencies that they were aware of potential threats to U.S. and international networks, and advised companies to immediately report any indications of malicious activity.
As the war in Ukraine continues — and US opposition to Russia grows in the form of sanctions — the Biden administration has been warning more and more seriously about the possibility of Russian cyber-attacks on US infrastructure.
On Monday, President Biden advised US companies to take extra precautions against hacking, citing “evolving intelligence” that Russia was preparing to attack the US with cyber attacks. Then on Thursday, the Ministry of Justice unopened charges against four Russians accused of mounting state-sponsored cyber-attacks against the US, disclosing details of a highly sophisticated hacking campaign involving compromises with supply chain software, and spear-phishing campaigns against thousands of employees of companies and US government agencies.