Wiper Malware in Ukraine Ties to Summer 2021 Intrusions

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Multiple systems at two Ukrainian government agencies were infected by wiper malware disguised as ransomware, as Microsoft first warned Saturday. Two days prior, on Jan. 13, a number of Ukrainian government websites were defaced, possibly in a coordinated effort, and displayed messages warning Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst.” Neither attack has been attributed to any group or nation-state. Ukrainian government officials in Kyiv say early signs point to Russia, possibly working with ally and fellow NATO critic Belarus. Attribution, however, always carries a caveat: When a government casts blame for an attack, it does so for political purposes.

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