Law360 (May 10, 2022, 8:52 PM EDT) — Western authorities on Tuesday formally accused Russia of carrying out a cyberattack on U.S.-based satellite internet provider Viasat Inc. one hour before the country’s invasion of Ukraine, in an episode that sparked internet outages throughout Europe.
The Feb. 24 attack was an attempt to disrupt Ukrainian command and control communication during the invasion, the U.S. Department of State said in a statement. Yet the episode ultimately had an impact across Europe, temporarily disabling tens of thousands of satellite terminals that support wind turbines and provide private citizens with internet, U.S. officials said.
According to a statement from the EU, Russia-backed actors targeted Viasat’s satellite KA-SAT network, “causing indiscriminate communication outages and disruptions across several public authorities, businesses and users in Ukraine.”
Officials in the EU, U.K. and U.S. also blamed the Russian government for other cyberattacks targeting Ukraine in the run-up to its invasion, including distributed denial-of-service attacks that disrupted access to several Ukrainian government websites.
“This unacceptable cyberattack is yet another example of Russia’s continued pattern of irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace, which also formed an integral part of its illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” EU officials said in a press release.
“Such behaviour is contrary to the expectations set by all UN member states, including the Russian Federation, of responsible state behaviour and the intentions of states in cyberspace,” EU authorities added. “Cyberattacks targeting Ukraine, including against critical infrastructure, could spill over into other countries and cause systemic effects putting the security of Europe’s