DTEK Group, which owns coal and thermal power plants in various parts of Ukraine, said the goal of the hack was to “destabilize the technological processes” of its distribution and generation firms, spread about the company’s operations, and “to leave Ukrainian consumers without electricity.”
“The cyberattacks didn’t have any negative effect on DTEK’s operations so far,” DTEK spokesperson Antonina Antosha told CNN in an email Tuesday. “All systems operate in a regular mode.”
XakNet has had access to data belonging to an organization that was likely hacked by a Russian cyber espionage group, suggesting a possible link between XakNet and the Russian government, said Alden Wahlstrom a senior analyst at US cybersecurity firm Mandiant, which has investigated some of XakNet’s activity.
On its Telegram channel, XakNet has mocked and denied the suggestion that it works with the Russian government.
CNN has requested comment from the Russian Embassy in Washington.
The hacking incident coincided with Russian shelling this week of a DTEK-owned thermal power plant in Kryvyi Rih, in central Ukraine, according to DTEK, whose websites says it employs 56,000 people.
Ukrainian energy providers have consistently been the target of Russian hacking teams since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. The Justice Department blamed Russia’s military intelligence service for cyberattacks on electric utilities in 2015 and 2016 that cut power in parts of Ukraine.
This story has been updated with comment from DTEK.