Hackers likely controlled by Russia are stepping up efforts to disrupt Ukraine’s presidential election in March with cyber attacks on electoral servers and personal computers of election staff, the head of Ukraine’s cyber police said on Friday. Serhiy Demedyuk told Reuters the attackers were using virus-infected greeting cards, shopping invitations, offers for software updates and other malicious “phishing” material intended to steal passwords and personal information. Ten weeks before the elections, hackers were also buying personal details of election officials, Demedyuk said, paying in cryptocurrency on the dark web, part of the internet accessible only through certain software and typically used anonymously.
“There are constant attacks – they go from simple (software) to applications that one or another employee uses,” he said, adding they were reminiscent of cyber attacks on the country’s energy, transport and banking systems seen since 2014.
“Payment occurs in cryptocurrency in most cases … and from the same wallets that were used to finance the previous attacks. This indicates that the same hacker organizations that are under the control of Russian special agencies are engaged in this,” Demedyuk said.