Kiev, May 24: The UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Kiev might be disrupted by Russian cyber attackers, Ukrainian officials have warned.
“Security Service experts believe that the infection of hardware on the territory of Ukraine is preparation for another act of cyber-aggression by the Russian Federation, aimed at destabilising the situation during the Champions League final,” the Ukrainian security services said in a statement, according to a report in Independent.
Cisco Systems announced afterwards that their cybersecurity unit Talos had uncovered a malware attack affecting approximately 500,000 routers.
But the possibility that an attack on Ukrainian devices of this magnitude taking part at the same time that a football match of this much importance could have major implications.
Ukraine has been locked in a years-long struggle with Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east and has repeatedly been hit by cyberattacks of escalating severity.
Last year witnessed the eruption of the NotPetya worm, which crippled critical systems, including hospitals , across the country and dealt hundreds of millions of dollars in collateral damage around the globe.
Ukraine, the United States and Britain have blamed the attack on Moscow — a charge the Kremlin has denied.
Cisco and Symantec both steered clear of attributing the VPNFilter malware to any particular actor, but an FBI affidavit explicitly attributed it to Fancy Bear, the same group that hacked into the Democratic National Committee in 2016 and has been linked to a long series of digital intrusions stretching back more than a decade.
The US intelligence community assesses that Fancy Bear acts on behalf of Russia’s military intelligence service.
(HT With inputs from