The European Union accused Russia of orchestrating a cyberattack that targeted satellite Internet modems in Ukraine

On February 24, just one hour before Russia attacked Ukraine, the European Union formally accused Russia of orchestrating a cyberattack that targeted satellite Internet modems in Ukraine.

Viasat’s consumer-oriented satellite internet service, KA-SAT, was the focus of the attack.

According to Viasat, it affected thousands of Ukrainian clients and tens of thousands of other broadband consumers across Europe.

The satellite internet loss also knocked down the modems that controlled Germany’s 5,800 wind turbines.

Viasat revealed a week after the attack that the satellite modems targeted in the cyberattack had been deleted using AcidRain data-destroying malware.

Russia is behind the KA-SAT cyberattack, according to the EU and the UK.

“The European Union and its Member States, as well as their international partners, strongly condemn the Russian Federation’s malicious cyber activity against Ukraine, which targeted Viasat’s satellite KA-SAT network,” said Josep Borrell Fontelles, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.

“This cyberattack had a tremendous impact, creating indiscriminate communication failures and disruptions across various Ukrainian government agencies, enterprises, and individuals, as well as affecting several EU Member States.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom also made a statement today accusing Russia of being behind the cyberattack on Viasat modems in Ukraine on February 24.

According to the UK’s news release, “new UK and US intelligence reveals Russia was behind an operation targeting commercial communications company Viasat in Ukraine.”

“Today’s news comes as cyber security leaders from the Five Eyes, the EU, and international partners gather in Newport for the NCSC’s Cyber UK conference to discuss the world’s cyber dangers,” said the NCSC.

The US government is likely to issue a statement later today.

While the Biden administration has yet to issue a joint statement with its European allies, the US government announced in March that it was looking into the Viasat hack as a possible Russian state-sponsored cyberattack.

At the time, the US National Security Agency (NSA) also indicated an inter-agency and allied effort to “evaluate the scope and severity of the incident,” which included Ukrainian intelligence.

Following the incident, CISA and the FBI issued a combined advisory warning US organisations of “potential threats” to SATCOM networks in the US and around the world.

“This heinous cyberattack is simply another example of Russia’s ongoing pattern of irresponsible cyber behaviour, which also had a role in its unlawful and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” Fontelles added.

“Such behaviour runs counter to all UN Member States’ expectations of responsible State behaviour and intentions in cyberspace, including the Russian Federation.”