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Microsoft Warns of Destructive Cyberattack on Ukrainian Computer Networks

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The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kyiv.

The malicious code appears to have been deployed around the time that Russia said that talks with the U.S. and NATO had essentially stalled.

Credit: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

Microsoft warned on Saturday evening that it had detected a highly destructive form of malware in dozens of government and private computer networks in Ukraine that appeared to be waiting to be triggered by an unknown actor.

In a blog post, the company said that on Thursday — around the same time government agencies in Ukraine found that their websites had been defaced — investigators who watch over Microsoft's global networks detected the code. "These systems span multiple government, nonprofit and information technology organizations, all based in Ukraine," Microsoft said.

On Sunday, President Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said the government was examining the code that Microsoft first reported. "We've been warning for weeks and months, both publicly and privately, that cyberattacks could be part of a broad-based Russian effort to escalate in Ukraine," Mr. Sullivan said on CBS's "Face the Nation," noting Russia's long history of using cyberweapons against Ukraine's power grid, government ministries and commercial firms.

But he cautioned that "we have not specifically attributed this attack yet," and that Microsoft and other firms had not, either. "But we're working hard on attribution," he said, adding that "it would not surprise me one bit if it ends up being attributed to Russia."

From The New York Times
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