Several Ukrainian government websites were unavailable on Wednesday when Russian troops attacked the country.
Among the victims were the official websites of the Ukrainian parliament, the Foreign Ministry, the Security Service and other agencies, according to The Kyiv Independent, English-language media in Ukraine.
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, wrote on Twitter that the devastating cyber attack against the Ukrainian government is in line with Russia’s plans.
“A number of key government websites in #Ukraine have simply darkened,” Mr Rubio tweeted. “Russia’s #Plan plan calls for a massive cyber attack on the Ukrainian government and disruption of communications with subsequent targeted missile strikes on defense facilities and ammunition and weapons depots.”
In recent weeks, the Ukrainian government has faced other problems in cyberspace. Last month, computer networks were disrupted by a cyber attack that left threatening messages and corrupted official websites. A Ukrainian official named Russia as a possible suspect.
Social networks and digital messaging platforms have also become part of the growing cyber chaos. Mr Rubio said on Wednesday that Russians were using Twitter’s content policy to suspend dozens of anti-Putin accounts.
Olga Lautman, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, tweeted that the Ukrainian military had received text messages urging surrender and that the Russians had been ordered to launch attacks.
“Russia’s information war is growing between this, disinformation and the growing spread of fakes,” Ms. Lautman said. “What a criminal illegal regime.”
The escalation of the cyber conflict in Ukraine is unlikely to stop at the country’s borders. After the Biden administration imposed new sanctions against Russia this week, Mr. Rubio, a top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted that cyberattacks affecting the economy are on the menu for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response.
U.S. cyber officials have warned computer network advocates to be prepared for the chaos that has erupted as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. Last week, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned cybersecurity experts to beware of foreign adversaries who used tools they had refused to deploy in previous attacks.
The FBI, CISA and the National Security Agency also issued a joint recommendation last week to sound the alarm about Russian cyberattacks targeting defense contractors, which the agencies said was between 2020 and 2022.