What is a cyber attack? How Russia is attacking Ukraine online - and will the UK be affected by the attacks

Russia has escalated the conflict in Ukraine and is now using cyber attacks to undermine the Ukraine government.

By Abi Whistance
Friday, 25th February 2022, 11:19 am
Updated Monday, 28th February 2022, 8:36 am

In the early hours of yesterday morning (24 February), Russia launched a "full scale invasion" of Ukraine after weeks of diplomatic talks came to a standstill.

Read More

Read More
NATO vs Russia: What countries are a member of N.A.T.O and what does it stand fo...

The last 24 hours have seen a series of cyber attacks against Ukraine, suspected to be commanded by Russia.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

British organisations have been warned to bolster their digital defences due to "malicious" cyber incidents in Ukraine. Photo: PA

These cyber attacks have affected banks, large scale corporations and even the government - but what exactly is a cyber attack?

Below is everything you need to know about cyber attacks and who they affect, and if the UK is under threat.

What is a cyber attack?

A cyber attack is an assault created by cybercriminals using one or more computers against one or more computers or networks.

They can disable computers, steal data, or use a breached computer as a launch point for other attacks.

Cybercriminals use several methods to launch an attack, including malware, phishing, ransomware and denial of service.

How is Russia using cyber attacks against Ukraine?

Earlier this week the websites of several Ukrainian banks and government departments became unavailable.

A new "wiper" attack, which destroys any data on infected machines, was also later discovered being used against Ukraine.

This is the third cyber attack on Ukraine this year, but is far more sophisticated than the ones seen previously.

It initially began on Wednesday afternoon when internet company NetBlocks tweeted about issues they were facing, saying "the incident appears consistent with recent DDoS attacks".

What is a DDoS attack?

DDoS stands for distributed denial of service.

These attacks are designed to knock a website offline by flooding it with huge amounts of requests until it is forced to crash.

Will cyberattacks affect the UK?

Although we are yet to see Russia attack the UK, British companies have already been urged to improve their digital security if possible to resist Russian attacks.

This is because the UK has offered support to Ukraine and placed several sanctions on Russia as a result of the invasion.

Despite these kinds of attacks being associated with Russia in the last two decades, Moscow denies being behind the attack, calling these claims "Russophobic".

How are countries helping Ukraine?

On Tuesday, the EU announced a cyber rapid-response team was being deployed across Europe after Ukraine asked for help.

It is not known if the team of experts from six volunteer countries is helping to defend against this new cyber attack.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.