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Ukraine’s border control station has been hit by a data viper cyber attack that has slowed the process of allowing refugees to enter Romania, a cyber security expert who spoke to Ukrainian agents at the border crossing told VentureBeat.
Refugees fleeing Ukraine after Russia’s invasion of the country have had to wait long at the border, sometimes for days. At least the cause appears to be the impact of another major viper attack, according to cybersecurity expert Chris Kubeka, speaking to VentureBeat on Sunday.
“People are stuck because Ukraine cannot process anything except pencil and paper,” said Kubeka, who was able to enter Romania on a bus with about two dozen people fleeing Ukraine on Saturday.
Kubekka said she believes the viper attack took place early Saturday morning after 6 a.m. Ukrainian time. She says she inquired about the cause of the long delay and found out that a cyber attack had taken place.
Given her background in cyber security, she was able to talk about what happened to Ukrainian agents at the border station. They told her it looked like it was the exact same viper virus that had hit some ministries, Kubeka said.
Last Wednesday, data-wiping malware was deployed against defense establishments as well as financial, aviation and IT services companies before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Vipers are referred to by researchers as “hermetic vipers”.
The viper attack at the border crossing on Saturday affected the Ukraine-Romania border crossing at Siret, said Kubeka, who documented the range of his travels. Tweets“The devastating cyber attack appears to have affected only Ukrainian border control, not the Romanian station,” she said.
It is not clear if Border Crossing is able to retrieve its computer system online. VentureBeat has reached out to Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service and Ukraine’s Security Service.
More than 368,000 people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of the country last Thursday, according to the United Nations.
Ukraine needs to closely monitor men aged 18 to 60 who are leaving the country due to their need to stay in Ukraine. However, at least at the Siret border crossing, it was proving to be a major challenge on Saturday, Kubekka said. “We were hit by a viper virus, we can’t process anything,” she was told by officers at the crossing.
Kubeka said it was trying to obtain samples of Viper malware to give to parties such as the European Union and the CERT-EU (Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU). “I’m still waiting for arrangements to be made to carry arms across the border, if I can,” she said.
Kubeka, a US native and veteran of the Air Force now living in the Netherlands, was in Ukraine due to her background and expertise in the field of cyber warfare. Her resume includes help in restoring the system for Saudi Aramco after a massive cyber attack in 2012.
Kubeka says he had to wait about 28 hours before being allowed to move to Romania. “We slept on the bus,” she said.
While some in the academy may be saying, “The cyber war is not over yet – it’s just a cyber crisis, that’s the BS. It’s happening right now,” Kubekka said. . “
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