Romania agrees to help Ukraine rebuild telecom infrastructure following Russian hacking attacks

By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Ukraine and Romania have signed a cooperation agreement aimed at developing 5G, rebuilding telecommunications networks, and increasing their stability, Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mihailo Fedorov announced on Thursday.

“We agreed on the first steps – increasing the stability of Ukrainian internet networks, developing 5G corridors between Ukraine’s borders and Romania, and Ukraine’s participation in EU financial support programs,” the minister said.

Romania will also help rebuild the digital infrastructure damaged by the war, Fedorov added.

He thanked Romania’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitization Bogdan Gruia Ivan for his cooperation and noted that from now on both countries will implement joint projects with EU financial support.

In December, Estonia and nine other countries launched the Tallinn Mechanism to strengthen Ukraine’s cyber support in the civilian sphere. This project will work in parallel with the IT coalition, which is engaged in solving Ukraine’s cyber problems in the military sphere.

A Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) official said Ukraine’s largest mobile network operator, Kyivstar, has been under attack by Russian hackers since at least May last year, and the attack should be a “major warning” to the West. On Dec. 12, hackers managed to block access to Kyivstar’s services for some 24 million users for several days.

According to Ilia Vitiuk, head of the SBU’s cyber security department, the December attack caused “disastrous” damage and was aimed both at dealing a psychological blow and gathering intelligence.

“This attack is a major message, a major warning not just to Ukraine, but to the entire Western world, to understand that virtually no one is untouchable,” Vitiuk said, noting that the target of the attack was a thriving private company that had invested heavily in cybersecurity.

The attack wiped out “almost everything,” including thousands of virtual servers, and was perhaps the first example of a destructive cyberattack that “completely destroys the core of a telecommunications operator,” he added.

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