A likely cyberattack on a satellite network that occurred at the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine has taken thousands of European Internet users offline, including 9,000 in France.
Thousands of internet users are cut off from the internet in France and Europe due to a likely cyberattack on a satellite network that occurred at the start of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, agreed sources say. According to Orange, “nearly 9,000 subscribers” of its subsidiary Nordnet’s satellite internet service in France went offline following a February 24 “cyber event” at Viasat, the US satellite operator of which he is a spokesman. customer.
Eutelsat, the parent company of satellite Internet service bigblu, also confirmed on Friday evening that about a third of the 40,000 bigblu subscribers in Europe (Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Poland) were affected by the Viasat outage. In the US, Viasat said on Wednesday that a “cyber event” caused a “partial network outage” for customers “in Ukraine and elsewhere” in Europe dependent on its KA-SAT satellite.
Viasat did not provide any details, limiting itself to stating that “police and government partners” were notified and “assisted” in the investigation. If the euphemism “cyber event” left no doubt that this was a cyber attack, then on Thursday this fact was confirmed by General Michel Friedling, who heads the French Space Command.
“Within a few days, shortly after the start of work, we had a satellite network that covers Europe in particular, and in particular Ukraine, which was the victim of a cyber attack, with tens of thousands of terminals that were returned to non-operational condition immediately after this attack,” he said during a press briefing organized by the Ministry of Defense, specifying that it was “about the Viasat civilian network.”
These violations also affected 5,800 wind turbines in Germany and Central Europe with a total capacity of 11 gigawatts. “Due to massive satellite outages in Europe, remote monitoring and control of thousands of wind power converters is currently only possible to a limited extent,” Enercon, the manufacturer of the wind turbines, said this week.
Enercon says the problems started on February 24, the first day of the invasion of Ukraine. “There is no danger to the wind turbine,” which continues to generate power but can no longer be restarted remotely if needed, the manufacturer explains. A report by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), quoted by the daily Handelsblatt on Friday, said it was “possible” that a cyberattack was the cause of the failure.
New destructive virus
Military and cyber experts fear that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict will trigger an outbreak of cyberattacks, a “cyberarmageddon” with significant repercussions for civilians in Ukraine and Russia, as well as the rest of the world, in an overflow or “splash”, according to a term recently used by a French military official. . For now, the worst-case scenario seems to have been avoided, as the observed attacks appear to be limited by their impact and geographic scope.
Cybersecurity companies are seeing attacks in Ukraine using a new data-destroying virus, the real consequences of which are little known. In Russia, organizations’ websites are closed to foreign access to protect them from denial-of-service (DOS) attacks that regularly take them down.