Ukraine and Russia troops engage

A cyberwar is flaring up between Ukraine and Russia in what could be a beginning to a physical fight.

Last week a group of unidentified men took control of several communications centres in Crimea, which are maintained by Ukraine’s telecom provider Ukrtelecom JSC. They wrecked cables and knocked out almost all landline, mobile and internet services in the region.

It now seems that event was so that wireless equipment could be illegally installed in order to spy on the mobile phones of Ukrainian MPs.

Valentyn Nalivaichenko, the head of SBU, Ukraine’s’ security service, has confirmed that an IP-telephonic attack is under way on mobile phones of members of Ukrainian parliament for the last few days.

“Telecoms gear at Ukrtelecom in Crimea was illegally and in violation of all commercial contracts, was installed that blocks the phone of all Ukrainian deputies, regardless of their political affiliation,” he said.

Meanwhile the Ukrainian hackers or sympathisers have been getting busy themselves, hacking the website of Russian state-funded news channel RT on Sunday and changing all references to “Russia” and “Russians” in headlines to “Nazi” and “Nazis”. The attack lasted only 20 minutes but was just the beginning.

A group of hackers in Ukraine who call themselves “Cyber-Berkut” have boasted about defacing at least 40 Russian news websites on their Facebook page with the image above, which shows a Nazi Swastika over Crimea.

On the Russian social network Vkontakte, 13 community groups set up in support of the new interim government in Kiev have had access to Russian IP addresses blocked. According to Moscow-based news website Lenta, a page appears when users try to access the groups, stating that the groups have been locked down by “the Russian Federation”.

At the moment there is a fear in the Ukraine that Russia could expand its military activity to include distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to bring down crucial Ukrainian servers. They have done during other conflicts in Estoniam and the 2008 South Ossetia war with Georgia.