Russia is believed to have hacked US satellite communications provider Viasat on the day of its invasion of Ukraine.


Western intelligence agencies have been investigating the incident and while they have not yet made a public accusation, they believe Russia was behind it.

It appears to be the most significant cyber-attack linked to the conflict so far, affecting military, as well as government, communications.

Russia hacked Ukrainian satellite communications, officials believe
Russia hacked Ukrainian satellite communications, officials believe

Overall though, Western officials say Ukraine has proved more resilient to cyber-attacks than many had expected.

Western intelligence agencies are investigating the hacking of Viasat, which provides communications through a network of satellites.

It appears to have been hit by a sophisticated cyber-attack that wiped devices on the day the invasion began.

Russia hacked Ukrainian satellite communications, officials believe
Russia hacked Ukrainian satellite communications, officials believe

It also affected other countries in Europe, although not the UK.

Viasat told the BBC that it was replacing some customers’ modems but its core network infrastructure and the satellite itself were not damaged.

“Viasat is actively working with distributors to restore service for those fixed broadband users in Europe impacted by this event,” it said in a statement.

The company did not say who it thought was behind the cyber-attack and said the US government would provide attribution in due course.

Military doctrine

“It looks like the clearest example of spill-over,” said one official.

Western officials believe this was almost certainly the work of Russia but have not yet assembled the evidence to make a public accusation.

“Were it to be ultimately attributed to Russia, it would very much fit with what we expect them to do, which is use their cyber-capability to support their military campaign,” said one Western official.

They believe it fits closely into Russian military doctrine, in which cyber-attacks are used to support specific military objectives – in this case trying to sow confusion by disrupting Ukrainian command and control.

In recent days, US cyber-authorities have warned that they are “aware of possible threats to US and international satellite communication networks”, and America’s FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (Cisa) have urged providers to improve their security because of the continuing potential risks.

Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, is thought to have been behind the Viasat hack, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Other officials also say that the GRU has led in operations against Ukraine.

Limited tech damage

In the initial phases of the Russian invasion, many had predicted large-scale destructive cyber-activity from Moscow.

Russian state hackers linked to the GRU in the past have managed to turn off the power for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians. But nothing on this scale was seen.

Western analysts believe there are several reasons for the absence of significant destructive attacks.

Russia believed the government in Kyiv would be toppled quickly and a new pro-Moscow replacement would be put in place.

In this scenario, destroying infrastructure would serve little purpose.

Destructive cyber-attacks take time to prepare and Moscow’s state hackers may also not have had sufficient notice since, like much of the military, they may not have known an invasion was being planned until the last minute.

Another reason is that when it comes to a full military conflict, hard military power can be more reliable in destroying targets such as TV towers than cyber-attacks, which are not always guaranteed to work.

But Western officials caution against the idea that there have not been cyber-attacks. They say that the Ukrainians may simply have been resilient to the attacks that did come their way.

Ukraine resilience

“We have seen broad targeting of Ukrainian networks and systems,” one official said.

“There was a significant amount of intent on the part of Russia to disrupt Ukrainian systems before the invasion,” an official also noted.

So-called “wiper” software was used to target government systems in January and February, just days before the invasion.

But officials say they believe Ukrainian defences held up well against attacks, which came from several Russian state-linked groups.

The experience of previous attacks may also have helped.

Ukraine Ministry of Defence website on a smartphoneIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,

Ukraine has proved resilient to cyber-attacks

“The Russians perhaps helped the Ukrainians get match fit,” an official said.

“Ukraine has done an incredible job of being resilient,” said the official, adding that the country had received extensive support from the West, in terms of both government and private sector.

Both US and UK cyber-intelligence officials have been working closely for a long period with Ukrainian counterparts, including in specific areas such as telecoms.

“That’s an area that they put a significant amount of effort into, and was supported by allies,” officials said.

There has been continued cyber-espionage in the conflict by both sides, officials say, particularly around intercepting communications and trying to locate and target individuals and military formations.

‘Possible activity’

So far, there have also not been major cyber-attacks against the West from Moscow.

One concern had been that Russia could retaliate for Western sanctions by launching cyber-attacks against the West, perhaps unleashing criminal gangs who use ransomware to lock businesses and organisations out of their systems.

The White House did warn this week that it has seen intelligence of possible activity.

However, it is not clear yet whether this is above the normal level of Russian cyber-activity that is happening all the time or whether it is an indication that Russia is preparing for something more serious.

Russia said it had sent revenue installments due on its dollar bonds for handling on Wednesday yet it couldn’t ensure financial backers would get the money, leaving the country near the precarious edge of its first obligation default beginning around 1998. Financial backers were anticipating $117mn in coupon installments on two Russian bonds, the main such installments since western nations answered President Vladimir Putin’s attack of Ukraine with remarkable monetary approvals. The cutoff time denotes a urgent trial of Moscow’s eagerness and capacity to keep adjusting its outer obligation.

Russia’s money serve Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday that the installment guidance had been shipped off the US bank that normally handles such exchanges yet that there was a gamble the money wouldn’t traverse, as per state newswire Ria Novosti.

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Recently Siluanov said that installment would be made in roubles assuming the exchange was ineffective, adding that western authorizations freezing a portion of the Russian national bank’s resources were an endeavor to drive the country in to an “fake default” on its $38.5bn of unfamiliar cash bonds. “Claims that Russia can’t satisfy its sovereign obligation commitments are false. We have the fundamental assets to support our commitments,” he told state telecaster Russia Today recently.

Default looms as Russia hits cutoff time for dollar bond installments

However, a “constrained redenomination” of coupon installments in to roubles would designate “that a default or a default-like interaction has started”, Fitch Ratings said. The organization would additionally minimize Russia’s FICO assessment to “limited default” in the event that the installment was not made in dollars inside the 30-day effortlessness period that follows Wednesday’s cutoff time. A portion of Russia’s dollar-and euro-named bonds contain a backup condition permitting reimbursement in roubles, however the two bonds with coupons due on Wednesday are not among them.

Western financial backers have been preparing themselves for default since the burden of US and European assents against the Russian national bank last month, sending bond costs tumbling. They recuperated to some degree on Wednesday after the Financial Times announced that Ukraine and Russia had gained critical headway on a provisional 15-point harmony plan including a truce, however kept on exchanging at levels that infer a default is almost certain. A dollar bond developing in 2023, one of the two because of pay a coupon on Wednesday, rose to 38 pennies on the dollar from 26 pennies on Tuesday.

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Western financial backers, who held about $170bn of Russian resources before the intrusion have previously supported weighty misfortunes. A default on Russia’s outside obligation – of which generally $20bn was in the possession of outsiders before the intrusion – would likewise bring up issues about the country’s bigger heap of rouble obligation, and about $90bn of unfamiliar cash bonds gave by Russian organizations.

The Russian government has proactively said that a new coupon installment on these nearby bonds wouldn’t arrive at unfamiliar holders, refering to a national bank restriction on sending unfamiliar cash to another country. Some Russian organizations, in any case, have kept on making revenue installments and reimburse developing bonds, to the shock of numerous financial backers. Russia’s last sovereign default in 1998 set off a monetary emergency and prompted the close breakdown of US speculative stock investments Long-Term Capital Management.

Then, at that point, the public authority rebuilt its rouble obligation and Soviet-period dollar-named obligation, yet kept on making installments on global bonds gave since the breakdown of the Soviet Union. The keep going extensive default on unfamiliar obligation came in the result of the Russian Revolution, when the Bolshevik government disavowed Tsarist-time obligations.

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A video has surfaced via web-based media that sees the late organizer of Synagogue Church of All Nations Prophet T.B Joshua forecasting regarding the nation Russia.

Russia has for the past five(5) days been in the news following their assault on Ukraine following the last’s choice to join NATO.

This has prompted a conflict between the two nations for certain nations in Europe promising to offer help to Ukraine which is by all accounts the more vulnerable side in the continuous conflict.

Why Russia sent the military to attack Ukraine: Everything You Need to Know

In the video which is quick circulating around the web, the late righteous man is heard forecasting to his assembly to appeal to God for Russia.

As indicated by the righteous man, he has seen a conflict coming to the nation however doesn’t have the foggiest idea where it will come from.

He proceeded with that their chief planned to confront solid resistance during that time.

Watch the video below:

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