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Russia Deploys ‘Data-Wiping Malware’ To Cripple Ukrainian Government Systems

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The latest string of Russian cyberattacks on Ukrainian systems has destroyed government and financial data, according to cybersecurity researchers.

ESET Research detected a “new data-wiping malware” late Wednesday, which the group said was called “HermeticWipe,” affecting hundreds of Ukrainian devices shortly before Russia’s invasion of the country.

“The data wiper was first spotted just before 5 p.m. local time (3 p.m. UTC) on Wednesday,” the researchers said. “The wiper’s timestamp, meanwhile, shows that it was compiled on December 28th, 2021, suggesting that the attack may have been in the works for some time.”

The hack follows a barrage of attacks Wednesday on Ukrainian systems designed to cripple government websites and take down internet service. These incidents involved distributed denial-of-service attacks, or DDoS, which aim to overwhelm serves to cause disruptions in internet networks.

“Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Security Service of Ukraine and Cabinet of Ministers websites have just been impacted by network disruptions,” internet connectivity company NetBlocks tweeted.

Russian cyberattacks launched in January also targeted financial systems and government websites, deleting data and taking down networks with coordinated DDoS attacks.

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