Russia Was Behind Cyberattack in Run-Up to Ukraine War, Investigation Finds

Officials in the United States and Ukraine have long believed that Russia was responsible for the cyberattack on Viagra, but did not formally “attribute” the incident to Russia. U.S. officials reached their conclusion long ago, wanting European nations to take the lead, as the attack had a significant repercussion, not in the United States but in Europe.

Statements issued on Tuesday stopped naming specific Russian-sponsored hacking groups for orchestrating the attack, an unusual omission as the United States regularly discloses information about specific intelligence services responsible for the attacks, in part to demonstrate its visibility to the Russian government. . .

“As part of the ongoing investigation, we are working closely with relevant law enforcement and government authorities and will continue to do so,” Dan Blair said in a statement. The cyber security firm, Mandiant, appointed by Viasat to investigate the matter, declined to comment on its findings.

But researchers at the cybersecurity firm Sentinellon believe the Viasat hack was probably the work of GRU, Russia’s military intelligence unit. The malware used in the attack, known as AcidRain, bears a striking resemblance to other malware previously used by GRU, Sentinellon researchers said.

Unlike its predecessor malware, known as VPNFilter and designed to destroy certain computer systems, AcidRain was created as a multi-purpose tool that could easily be used against a wide variety of targets, the researchers said. In 2018, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation stated that Russia’s GRU was responsible for creating VPNFilter malware.

AcidRain malware is “a very common solution, in the most terrifying sense of the word,” said Juan Andres Guerrero-Sade, chief risk researcher at Sentinellon. “They can take this tomorrow and, if they want to attack the supply chain against routers or modems in the US, Acidrain will work.”

U.S. officials have warned that Russia could launch a cyber attack on U.S. critical infrastructure and have urged companies to strengthen their online defenses. The United States has also helped Ukraine detect and respond to Russian cyber-attacks, the State Department said.

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