Valentin Petrov: The recent virus attack is a political move that should be considered as an element of the hybrid war
The virus attack, which took place on June 27, is a political move that should be considered in the context of the hybrid war as an attempt to harm and destabilize the situation in Ukraine. This was stated by Head of Service on Issues of Information Security of the Staff of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Valentin Petrov on the Radio "Liberty".
According to him, the virus attack affected governmental bodies, banking institutions, industrial objects, including objects of critical infrastructure. "But despite the panic mood, the attackers did not manage to inflict much harm", - Valentin Petrov noticed.
The Head of Service on Issues of Information Security of the NSDC Staff explained that in this case, the version that the attack was carried out to profit the attackers is rejected. "One had to pay around $300 to decrypt the computers encrypted as a result of the virus, but according to the National Police, only 28 people resorted to this. That is, the attackers' profit amounted to about 9 thousand dollars - it is a far cry from their spendings", - he said adding that those were the state-owned objects that suffered from this attack the least as compared to private-sector companies.
Mr. Petrov also pointed out that the very name of the virus shows the political implication of this action, as well as the fact that the attack was carried out on the eve of the Constitution Day of Ukraine. "Moreover, there is a violent escalation of events in the East of Ukraine, one of the leaders of the Main Intelligence Department was killed in Kyiv, a car with security servicemen was blown up in the ATO zone. In other words, we can see that a systemic destabilization campaign is ongoing, and these virus attacks are fully integrated into the action logic of our adversary's actions", - the Head of Service on Issues of Information Security of the NSDC Staff underlined.
He also explained that the high level of flexibility of such attacks requires highly qualified staff investigating such cases and relevant equipment from our law enforcement system. "Cyberpolice and the Security Service are doing everything possible to prevent such attacks and neutralize their effects", - Valentin Petrov noted.
Mr. Petrov also added that western partners are also helping Ukraine to defend itself against cyberattacks. In particular, in partnership with NATO, Ukraine is implementing a cybersecurity project. "Special equipment has been procured and transferred to law enforcement agencies, an appropriate cyber security sensor has been installed. Ukraine is actively working with NATO, the US, and the United Kingdom.
They are assisting us and studying our experience because we are an interesting proving ground where Russia is using modern cyberweapons and everyone is curious to see how it works, how to counter such threats", - he said. The Head of Service on Issues of Information Security of the NSDC Staff reminded that similar attacks were carried out in December 2015 and in December 2016, and as well as now, very good time and objects were chosen for them. "That is why it should be considered in the context of the hybrid war as an attempt to harm and destabilize the situation in Ukraine", - Valentin Petrov summarized.