A 'massive' hacking attack has hit government websites in Ukraine

The European Union says it will help Ukraine fight cyberattacks after 'provocative messages' left on ministry websites.

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A 'massive' cyberattack has taken down several government websites in Ukraine, including the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Education and Science.

A statement by Ukranian police says cyber attackers left "provocative messages" on the main pages of government websites, which have been taken offline – but no personal data has been altered or stolen.

The country's cyber-police department is working with the State Special Communications Service and Ukraine's security service to investigate the attacks. As of Friday morning, some of the websites have been restored, while others remain offline.

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"As a result of a massive cyber attack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down. Our specialists have already started restoring the work of IT systems, and the cyberpolice has opened an investigation," Oleg Nikolenlo, spokesperson for Ukraine's Foreign Ministry, said on Twitter.

Websites affected by the attack include those of the Ukrainian cabinet, a number of ministries and the state services website, which stores electronic passports and vaccination certificates.

Josep Borrell, high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, said the European Union is mobilising "all its resources" to aid Ukraine following the cyberattack.

"This deserves the strongest condemnation," he told reporters, according to Bloomberg, adding: "Of course I cannot point at anyone as I have no evidence, but we can imagine."

Currently, nobody has explicitly claimed responsibility for the attack or made concrete accusations over where it originated. However, it came just hours after the EU renewed economic sanctions on Russia by a further six months.

Russia has previously been accused of conducting a number of different cyberattacks against Ukraine, including one that disrupted energy supplies, causing power cuts in December 2015.

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