It seems that cyberwar is flaring up between the two countries in what could appear a beginning to a physical fight. A few days ago, a group of unidentified people took control of some communications centers in Crimea, maintained by Ukraine’s telecom provider Ukrtelecom. The men wrecked cables and knocked out almost all landline, mobile and Internet services in the area.
Some believe that wireless equipment could also be illegally installed to spy on the mobile phones of Ukrainian MPs. The local security service confirmed that an IP-telephonic attack was under way on mobile phones of Ukrainian MPs for the last several days. They said that telecoms gear at Ukrtelecom in Crimea was illegally installed to block the phone of all Ukrainian deputies, regardless of their political affiliation.
In the meantime, the local hackers or sympathisers have also been busy: they cracked the website of Russian state-funded news channel and changed all references to “Russia” and “Russians” in headlines to “Nazi” and “Nazis”. Although the attack lasted 1/3 an hour, it was just the beginning.
Soon a group of Ukrainian hackers calling themselves “Cyber-Berkut” (Berkut are special war forces in Ukraine) have boasted about defacing over 40 Russian news websites, posting an image with a Nazi Swastika over Crimea.
As for the Russian infamous social network Vkontakte (InTouch), 13 community groups set up to support the new interim government in Ukraine’s capital suddenly faced blocked access to Russian IP addresses. According to Russian news media, a message appears when users try to access the groups, stating that the groups have been locked down by “the Russian Federation”.
Now Ukraine fears that Russia could expand its military activity to include DDoS attacks to bring down crucial servers in the country, as they have done before.