According to intelligence memos obtained by the media outlet The Times, China launched cyber-attacks on Ukrainian military and nuclear targets not long before the Russian invasion. However, the Security Service of Ukraine denied having supplied any information.
The Times said, citing an exclusive intelligence memo from the Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU, that China coordinated thousands of hacking attempts on more than 600 websites, including Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense.
According to the memo, Ukraine’s intelligence and security agency revealed that the Chinese attacks started before the end of the Winter Olympics and peaked on February 23, the day before Russian troops and tanks crossed the border, an apparent sign of complicity in the invasion.
However, the SBU denied on Friday, April 1, that it had provided any information on the alleged attacks.
The Guardian quoted the agency as saying: “The SBU has nothing to do with the findings of the Times. The Security Service of Ukraine does not currently have such data and no investigation is underway.”
Meanwhile, the UK government confirmed with The Guardian that the National Cyber Security Center was investigating the charges.
Ciaran Martin, a professor of practice at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University and former head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, said, “We should be very cautious about this in two areas. First, there is an important difference between digital spying and disruptive attack and on the basis of the information publicly available, this looks like the former.
“Second, there isn’t anything in the publicly available evidence that implies collusion between China and Russia. Added to this now, of course, is the official denial from the Ukrainian Security Service. More facts are needed but for now we should not jump to conclusions”.