The tense on-the-ground standoff in Ukraine has already tipped into open hostilities online, with hackers targeting members of parliament and state agencies.
The government in Kiev has linked Internet and phone service disruptions in recent days to cyberwar attacks. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council reported a “massive denial-of-service attack” that overwhelmed its servers for several hours last week. Even some Ukrainian news outlets say their websites have been hacked, along with similar reports of attacks on news outlets in Russia.
A pro-Russian group calling itself CyberBerkut is claiming on its Facebook (FB) page to have blocked the phones of more than 700 Ukrainian government officials, whom it describes as “political traitors.” The group said it also has attacked websites belonging to government agencies and to protest groups that helped oust former President Viktor Yanukovych. The name Berkut refers to a former special police unit, disbanded by the new government, that Yanukovych used to crack down on protesters.