Russian telecom targeted by Ukrainian hacktivists as payback for Kyivstar

Ukrainian hacktivists have targeted the Russian internet provider M9com as retaliation for the December cyberattack on Ukraine’s nationwide telecom provider Kyivstar, which knocked out communication services for more than half the nation's population for days.

The group thought to be responsible has been identified by Ukrainian law enforcement sources, who shared the information with Ukrinform, the Ukrainian National News Agency.

"Hackers from the Blackjack group, who are likely related to the SBU [Security Service of Ukraine], hacked the Moscow-based internet service provider M9com and destroyed its servers," the source told Ukrinform.

The attack, which caused internet and television services to go down for about half the population of Moscow, has impacted the Russian provider’s official website, mail servers, cyber protection services, and all M9com branch websites, the sources said.

Internet monitoring site NetBlocks also confirmed the disruption to Moscow-based internet provider, showing the attack taking place over the past 24 hours, “corroborating reports” that the attack forced the M9com “network offline.”

The BlackJack hackers claim to have deleted roughly 20TB of data and exfiltrated more than 10GB of data from the company's mail server and client databases, making them “available for research by anyone (open via TOR),” Ukrinform reported.

The source also told the outlet the hackers said the onslaught was only a “warm-up attack,” and that the group would carry out another larger attack as "serious revenge for Kyivstar."

Similar to the Kyivstar attack, the BlackJack hackers most likely gained access to the back-end operations of M9com in order to be able to wipe the servers clean, reported The Kyiv Post.

Last month, the massive attack on Ukraine’s largest telecom provider Kyivstar shut down internet services for millions of users – about half the population of the nation.

“Russian hackers broke through Kyivstar's cyber security through the compromised account of one of the company's employees,” CEO Oleksandr Komarov said in an on-air interview at the time.

The outage lasted for days, and full restoration of Kyivstar systems has taken weeks.

Komarov called the December 12th attack, "the biggest cyberattack on telco infrastructure in the world."

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