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24 Sep, 2022 14:09

Russian payment system hit by Ukrainian hackers – media

DDoS-attacks are being used to overload the Mir system, Kommersant reports
Russian payment system hit by Ukrainian hackers – media

Ukrainian hackers are conducting cyberattacks on Russia’s interbank payment system, threatening to hinder its operations and undermine clients’ trust in the banks, Kommersant reported on Friday, citing sources.

According to the Russian outlet, Ukrainian ‘hacktivists’ are carrying out DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks on the Mir payment system and its operator, National Payment Card System, coordinating their activities via pro-Ukraine chats. A DDoS attack is a malicious attempt to overwhelm the target with a flood of internet traffic from multiple sources.

The attacks are reportedly conducted by generating traffic with the help of browsers or ‘primitive DDoS instruments’ to overload the system.

Although Russian officials have declined to comment on the alleged attacks, some experts say it’s possible that the payment system could eventually be compromised, noting that these types of attacks have been going on since the beginning of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Under the current conditions, we can expect the culprits to achieve some success in their DDoS attacks on the Mir payment system, the risks are more than real,” one Kommersant source said, adding that a complete failure in the ‘card acquiring’ process, which could last up to several hours, is possible.

According Dmitry Vishnyakov, an independent card expert, the uninterrupted processing of transactions is critical to the system’s operations. “If processing is suspended even for one or two hours, this may undermine confidence in the banks,” he told Kommersant.

Mir cards work as Russia’s alternative to Visa and Mastercard, which suspended operations in the country after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February. Mir cards can also be used abroad.

Several banks in Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam have signaled that they will no longer accept Mir cards. Experts say it is due to fears over Western sanctions.

According to research conducted by StormWall in August, the number of cyberattacks on Russian payment systems has skyrocketed, growing by 126% from the same period one year earlier.

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