Cyber Police See Surge in Hacking Activity Via Crypto Payments on the Dark Web for Ukraine’s Upcoming Presidential Election

The presidential election in the Ukraine will soon commence in March, but this occasion is not being surrounded with news of candidates or even their stances on different issues. Instead, the news is plagued with reports from the cyber police, who say that hackers are attempting to disrupt the authenticity of the election, attacking electoral servers and the election staff’s personal computers too. According to the cyber police in the area, they believe that Russian hackers are most likely responsible for the efforts.

Police chief Serhiy Demedyuk explained that the hackers were infiltrating servers with multiple sources, including anything from greeting cards to software update offers. All of these sources are efforts to phish for passwords and personal information. The hackers turn around and sell the personal information regarding election officials, though these actions are performed on the dark web with cryptocurrency to conceal the transactions.

Demedyuk added, “Payment occurs in cryptocurrency in most cases … and from the same wallets that were used to finance the previous attacks. This indicates that the same hacker organizations that are under the control of Russian special agencies are engaged in this.” At this point, there has not been a response from the Kremlin on these comments.

Russia and Ukraine have been in a difficult relationship since the 2014 annexation of Crimea. Though Moscow denies the accusations of launching large-scale cyber attacks against Ukraine, Ukraine has not stopped accusing them of participating in this “hybrid war.” One of the attacks in 2017 was the “NotPetya” malware, which ended up reaching thousands of computers around the world and impacting shipping and business.

Martial law is presently active in Ukraine since November, which was imposed after Russia captured three of their Kerch Strait vessels. Considering all of this activity between the country, Pro-Wester President Petro Poroshenko believes that there are many ways that Kremlin can infiltrate the elections. However, at this point, the cyber police have found nothing to indicate that the electoral system has been infiltrated. Still, Ukraine is remaining alert as the commission’s regional offices prepare for the month before elections.

The main concern for cyber police, at this point, is that the cyber attacks will be against critical infrastructure to sectors like energy and banking, making it possible for malware to easily create a massive coordinated attack.

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