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Ukraine hit with another massive cyber attack; one GOP senator warns Russian missile strikes could follow

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Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Ukrainian government said it was hit with another critical cyber attack on Wednesday, this one taking down several government websites and banks in the Eastern European country.

What are the details?

The attack, called a mass distributed denial of service attack, or DDoS, reportedly began around 4 p.m. local time, according to a post by Mykhailo Fedorov, head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, CNBC reported.

In a post on his Telegram, Fedorov reported that websites for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet of Ministers, and Verkhovna Rada, the country’s parliament, were among those affected by the attack.

The government websites were offline as of Wednesday morning as officials attempted to switch traffic to another provider in order to minimize damage.

CNBC noted that a DDoS attack is when a hacker floods a target's network or server with traffic so that others can't access it.

What's the background?

The sweeping cyber attack is the second in the course of a week. Though the source of the attack has not yet been confirmed, it comes as Russia becomes increasingly hostile toward its neighboring country, threatening a full-scale military invasion.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent "peacekeeping" troops to Donetsk and Luhansk, two Russian-speaking regions in southeastern Ukraine, promoting global backlash. President Biden considered the brazen move the start of an invasion and responded by ordering sanctions against the country.

The United States attributed last week's attack — which affected Ukraine's Defense Ministry, army, and state banks — to Russian agents, though Russia denied any involvement.

What else?

Over the weekend, reports surfaced indicating that the U.S. had obtained intelligence that Russia planned to invade Ukraine in the coming days.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said in a tweet Wednesday that massive cyber attacks on the Ukrainian government and the disruption of communications were part of Russia's plan.

He also warned that the cyber attacks would be "followed by targeted missile strikes against air defense sites [and] ammunition/weapons depots."

It remains to be seen if and when the Russian military decides to carry out missile strikes.

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