Consortium of hackers threaten to launch cyberattacks on Western banking systems in revenge for the West supply of weapons to Ukraine
Three hacker groups, Anonymous Sudana, REvil and Killnet, plan to conduct a cyberattack on European banks, according to a joint video statement posted online by the groups.
They claimed that the attacks will come in response to the West’s supply of weapons to Ukraine. The country has been in a state of conflict with neighboring Russia since February last year. Russia faced unprecedented economic sanctions from the EU and was disconnected from the international SWIFT money-exchange system, in response to its military operation in Ukraine.
“This is not a DDoS attack, the games are over. We call on all active groups to engage in destructive activity against the European banking system. No money – no weapons – no Kiev regime,” an anonymous Killnet representative says in the video.
“Many European banks will be targeted, and we will hit without mercy,” the Anonymous Sudan representative added.
The leader of Killnet – with the nickname Killmilk – confirmed to news outlet Lenta.ru on Thursday that preparations for the attack were underway and the action was to begin within 48 hours.
IT experts warned that, apart from the direct attacks on banks, hackers are likely to target the SWIFT system, on which the majority of international banking transactions are based. However, they doubt such an attack will be successful.
“It is difficult to say in advance how seriously we should take this. Anonymous Sudan and Killnet engage in DDoS attacks. Their attacks have been unsuccessful, or the impact was minimal. REvil ran ransomware and was not involved in ‘hacktivism’ before… Yet it is still worth being on the lookout for this,” Daan Keuper, lead researcher at Dutch cybersecurity company Computest, told RTL Nieuws.
IT industry expert Yevgeny Gorbov also said that the declared large-scale attack is unlikely to be successful due to the layers of protection involved in banking systems.
“To perform a cyberattack on the banking system in Europe, you must hack it first. Everything is controlled by several data centers and an attack on one of them will not solve anything. Even if they shut it down for a day or a week, the banking system won’t collapse and will continue to work. It is possible that a few banks will be attacked, but it is unlikely to lead to catastrophic consequences,” Gorbov told NEWS.ru.
According to media reports, Killnet was recently behind the hacking of several NATO websites, the FBI database, and an IT outage at Lufthansa.
On Thursday, CNN reported a large scale cyber attack on US government networks with Russian speaking groups taking responsibility.
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency “is providing support to several federal agencies that have experienced intrusions,” an agency official told the American broadcaster. “We are working urgently to understand impacts and ensure timely remediation.”
It is unclear who carried out the attack, and how many agencies were affected.
The attack is the latest in a slew of hacks targeting Western corporations, universities, and governments in the last two weeks. State governments in Minnesota and Illinois have been hit, as have the BBC, British Airways, and oil giant Shell.
A Russian-speaking group known as Cl0p has taken responsibility for most of the breaches, promising to start publishing data obtained from the affected targets if its ransom demands are not met. According to CNN, the group exploited a vulnerability in a popular file-transfer program called MOVEit to gain access to its targets.
As of Saturday morning, there have been no reports of attacks from European financial institutions.