Russia claims that it was cyber attacked by a foreign spy service, but no evidence of unusual activity was found on the servers of the web hosting company used for the alleged attack. Bluehost reported a major network outage that was possibly caused by a DDoS attack.
According to CSO, the Russian government claims to have been victim of a "large-scale" cyberattack from foreign intelligence services. According to Russian sources, the attack was meant to destabilize the country's financial system. The statement was made on Friday, Dec. 2, by the government's Federal Security Service, but no specific country was blamed. According to Russian FSS, the attack was meant to be carried out against a number of major Russian banks on Dec. 5.
The hack was also supposed to include the use of SMS text messages and social media in order to circulate posts claiming a crisis in Russia's financial system. The Federal Security Service claimed that several dozen cities had been targeted, but the security agency was able to already neutralize the threat.
Russia said that the uncovered plot by foreign spy agencies was intended to sow chaos in the country's banking system. The planned cyberattack was supposed to be carried out via a coordinated wave of hacks and fake social media reports about banks going bankcrupt.
The security service also named a Ukrainian web hosting company called BlazingFast that was supposedly being used to launch the cyberattack using servers based in the Netherlands. However, on Friday, BlazingFast made a statement claiming that no evidence of an imminent attack coming through its systems could be found.
In a Facebook post, the company said that its security technicians reviewed all the network and systems and could not find any abnormal pattern changes to indicate an imminent cyberattack. Therefore, the Ukrainian company cannot confirm FSB's allegations.
The company said that it always monitors its network in order to prevent any illegal activity and protect its thousands of customers. The Ukrainian internet company also stated that it is ready to cooperate with any legal entity in order to clarify the issue. However, the Russian security service did not contact BlazingFast. It is possible that FSB has handled the situation without the need of Ukrainian company's cooperation.
According to Reuters, this year alone hackers stole more than 2 billion rubles ($31 million) from correspondent accounts in commercial Russian bank and at the Russian central bank. Discussing the losses at a briefing, central bank official Artyom Sychyov said that the hackers had attempted to steal about 5 billion rubles.
Previous Hacking Incidents
No details on how it stopped or detected the cyberattack have been provided by Russia's security service. This incident comes as the country is already facing tensions over accusations that it is state sponsoring hacker attacks and that it tried to influence the recent U.S. presidential election.
U.S. intelligence agencies publicly blamed the Russian government for sponsoring several cyberattacks targeting U.S. political institutions and officials, as a way to leak sensitive information to the public. Back then, the Obama administration has warned Russia about planning a possible response. However, it is still unknown if anything materialized.