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Internet outages hit Ukraine following Russian missile strikes

Graham CLULEY

October 12, 2022

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Internet outages hit Ukraine following Russian missile strikes

Ukraine has seen internet outages this week following renewed missile attacks from Russian forces.

Russia's military launched a heavy missle strike against Ukraine on Monday, seemingly in retaliation for Saturday's explosion on a key bridge linking Russia to Crimea.

With some regions of Ukraine suffering from poor connectivity after damage sustained against telecommunications infrastructure, officials called on the public to limit their use of the internet.  Similar requests have been made regarding energy use.

Data from Cloudflare indicated a 35% dip in internet availability as multiple explosions caused power outages.

Cloudflare reported that the internet disruption had caused clear drops in traffic after after 06:15 UTC on Monday in Kharkiv (approximately 80% less traffic), Lviv (approximately 60% drop) and also, to a lesser extent, in Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

Most areas have shown indications of recovery since, but with Russia's strong desire to attack Ukraine's critical infrastructure no-one imagines there will not be more attacks in future.

Also tracking Ukraine's internet accessibility was NetBlocks, which collects real-time internet telemetry which can detect outages and other disruptions.

Netblocks director Alp Toker told the BBC, that his organisation's data suggested that power cuts, and the destruction of homes and infrastructure had contributed to the internet outages.

Toker said that he believed Ukraine's communications infrastructure was being targeted specifically by Russia to disrupt the ability of homes and businesses to connect to the internet.

Last month, Ukrainian cybersecurity officials said that they believed Russia was "preparing massive cyberattacks on the critical infrastructure of Ukraine and its allies" in order to "increase the effect of missile strikes on electricity supply facilities."

The experts also said that they believed Russia would increase the intensity of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Ukraine's national infrastructure.  Sure enough, a number of Ukrainian websites have suffered DDoS and other seemingly pro-Russia hacker attacks.

Ukraine has surprised many observers with its strong resilience to cyber attacks during the conflict, against what was perceived as Russia's digital might.

"If somebody asked me in February 2022, I would've underestimated the power of defense," National Cyber Director Chris Inglis told Politico. "Ukraine showed us some investment in digital infrastructure, in roles and responsibilities and in people skills can pay huge dividends in your ability to conduct a stout defense."

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