United States President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday blamed the Russian government for launching a massive cyberattack on Ukraine in 2017. The White House even threatened “consequences” against President Vladimir Putin’s regime.
The June malware attack, known as NotPetya, “was part of the Kremlin’s ongoing effort to destabilize Ukraine and demonstrates ever more clearly Russia’s involvement in the ongoing conflict,” Politico quoted the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as saying.
“This was also a reckless and indiscriminate cyber-attack that will be met with international consequences,” Huckabee added.
The White House’s response came hours after the British and Danish governments blamed Russia for the cyberattack.
When asked what “international consequences” will Trump impose over NotPetya, the National Security Council spokesman Marc Raimondi said, “We are not going to telegraph our efforts”.
NotPetya, which initially spread because of a compromised software update mechanism in a widely used Ukrainian tax programme, disrupted operations at Ukraine’s central bank, the main airport in Kiev and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Cyber experts called it a striking example of Russia using its Eastern European neighbour as a testbed for aggressive digital warfare tactics.
The malware partly relied on leaked National Security Agency hacking tools to spread quickly across networks.
It even infected systems in the United States and many countries in Europe and Asia.