KIEV (Reuters) - Hackers tried to access confidential data in powerful but stealthy phishing attacks launched in parallel with an eyeball-grabbing ransomware strike called BadRabbit last week, the head of the Ukrainian state cyber police said on Thursday.
The BadRabbit attack mainly affected Russia but also hit the headlines in Ukraine -- a frequent victim of cyber strikes -- by causing flight delays at Odessa airport on the south coast and disrupting electronic payments in the Kiev metro.
“During these attacks, we repeatedly detected more powerful, quiet attacks that were aimed at obtaining financial and confidential information,” cyber police chief Serhiy Demedyuk told the Reuters Cyber Security Summit in Kiev.
Demedyuk said it was a kind of “hybrid attack” that is becoming increasingly common. “There is an open, let’s say instantly obvious attack, while underneath there is a hidden, fairly well-thought-out attack, to which nobody pays attention.”
“The main theory we’re working on now, is that they (the perpetrators of both attacks) were one and the same,” he said. “The goal was to get remote and undetected access.”
Another virus, dubbed “NotPetya”, targeted users of accounting software in June. It took down thousands of computers in Ukraine and spread around the world, disrupting shipping and businesses.
Demedyuk said Ukrainian authorities had prevented five other major attacks on financial institutions and strategic infrastructure since June. He declined to name the targets. He also said hackers have been exploiting so-called “back doors” that were installed by hackers during the NotPetya attack.
Editing by Matthias Williams and William Maclean