The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reports that it has successfully repelled a cyberattack on the network equipment of the Auly Chlorine Distillation Station – the only company in Ukraine that supplies water treatment companies with liquid chlorine for water purification.
“Intelligence services specialists in the field of cyber security established that, over the course of several minutes, the company’s technological process control systems and the systems for detecting signs of emergencies were being attacked by the VPN Filter computer virus from Russia,” the report states.
The SBU also stressed that the cyberattack “could have led to an interruption in the technological processes and a possible emergency”. However, the department’s specialists, in close collaboration with the station management, managed to prevent a man-made catastrophe – the virus was blocked and neutralized.
The Auly Chlorine Distillation Station is located in the Dnipropetrovsk province, in the Auly settlement, and supplies chlorine to 23 provinces of Ukraine, as well as Moldova and Belarus, according to the company’s website.
Earlier in May, the American company Cisco reported a huge number of cases of the VPN Filter virus in 54 countries, including Ukraine. Specialists estimate that the virus infected roughly half a million devices. The company believes that this could indicate a planned, large-scale cyberattack – the virus can be used for cyber-espionage and mass attacks on infrastructure.
Cisco specialists also observed that the VPN Filter code is similar to the code of viruses developed by the BlackEnergy hackers, who are believed to have created the Petya virus. In 2017, Petya and its modifications were used to attack a large number of critical infrastructural facilities in Ukraine – airports, network and energy companies, as well as government institutions. Russian organizations were also affected by the Petya virus.
The SBU later claimed that Russia was behind the attack, and identified a possible time frame for it – the end of May, when the Champions League final was held in Ukraine.
At the end of June, Ukrainian Chief of Cyberpolice Serhiy Demidyuk told Reuters that Russia is preparing another major cyberattack on Ukrainian enterprises.