Ukraine flag against technology background

Ukraine suffered 29 state-sponsored cyber attacks in 2022

Image credit: Canva

Most of the cyber attacks targeting Ukraine last year were "destructive, disk-erasing wiper malware" according to a report published by Atlas VPN.

The report highlighted a worrying increase in state-sponsored cyber attacks globally, with Ukraine having been the victim of 29 in the past 12 months. 

Behind most of the government-backed attacks that took place around the world stand China and Russia, the report showed, with 44 and 38 cyber attacks respectively.

The data is based on the Council on Foreign Relations Cyber Operations Tracker, which categorises all instances of publicly known state-sponsored cyber activity since 2005.

These types of attacks are carried out by government-sponsored groups or organisations, which the goal of stealing sensitive information, disrupting critical infrastructure, or undermining the operations of a targeted entity.

Graph showing countries that suffered cyberattacks in 2022

Graph showing countries that suffered cyberattacks in 2022/ Atlas VPN

Image credit: Atlas VPN

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the country has suffered an increase in cyber attacks over the past year, with Russian hacking at times deployed in combination with missile strikes, according to a senior figure in the country’s cyber-security agency.

The attacks from Russia have often taken the form of destructive, disk-erasing wiper malware, said Viktor Zhora, a leading figure Ukraine’s SSSCIP agency, with “in some cases, cyber attacks supportive to kinetic effects”.

Zhora’s comments came as he visited London’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, where he and Ukrainian colleagues were due to discuss how to work together to tackle the Russian threat.

In response, Tom Tugendhat, the UK security minister, said the fight “against Russian barbarism goes beyond the battlefield” and terror inflicted on civilians.

“There is the real and persistent threat of a Russian cyber attack on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure,” he added.

In contrast, state-backed hackers launched seven attacks on Russia in 2022, the majority of which have been attributed to Ukrainian attackers. 

The United States suffered 14 state-sponsored cyber attacks. Most of these came from Iran or China-backed hackers who launched phishing and malware campaigns against US companies or government entities.

Other nations were also victims of these types of attacks, with South Korea suffering six, India five, and Turkey three. Israel, as well as government institutions in the Middle East and EU member states, were victims of four government-backed hacker attacks each. 

Last November, the Australian Signals Directorate’s latest annual cyber threat report warned that cyber attacks from criminals and state-sponsored groups had significantly increased in the past financial year, turning the cyber space into “the domain of warfare”.

This rise in cyber crime has affected governments and organisations across the world. The UK’s NHS, the US’s Apple, and even the Albanian government have all suffered severe cyber attacks that have disrupted their services and put their users’ personal information at risk.

Last year, the UK government revealed it has been supporting Ukraine’s cyber-security efforts against Russia with a £6.35m package designed to protect some of its critical national infrastructure.


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