Ukraine’s postal service prints stamp mocking sunken Russian ship, and gets hit by DDoS attack

Ukraine's postal service prints stamp mocking sunken Russian ship, and gets hit by DDoS attack

The story so far.

On February 24 2022, Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, called on the 13 border guards defending Ukraine’s Snake Island to surrender.

History records that the Ukrainians were not compliant, as this translated transcript of the conversation details:

Russian warship: “Snake Island, I, Russian warship, repeat the offer: put down your arms and surrender, or you will be bombed. Have you understood me? Do you copy?”

Ukrainian 1 to Ukrainian 2: “That’s it, then. Or, do we need to fuck them back off?”

Ukrainian 2 to Ukrainian 1: “Might as well.”

Ukrainian 1: “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.”

Snake Island was subsequently captured by the Russian navy, but the riposte from the Ukrainian guard became a rallying call for resistance.

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It only took a matter of days for Ukraine’s national postal service, Ukrposhta, to issue a stamp honouring the defiance of the border guards on Snake Island as they refused to surrender to Russia’s Moskva warship.

On the stamp, a guard is rebelliously giving a defiant “one fingered salute” to the Moskva.

On April 13 2022, Ukraine claimed that its forces had hit Moskva with two missiles, and it subsequently sank.

The Moskva, pictured after being hit by missiles but before sinking.

That’s certainly flippin’ the bird.

And this is where a cybersecurity element enters the story.

Because on 22 April 2022, Reuters reported that Ukrposhta was hit by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. The speculation is that this was in retaliation against the sale of the stamps, which cheekily referenced the doomed Moskva.

“We are really doing everything, together with internet providers, to restore both the online store and other Ukrposhta systems that are also temporarily not working due to a DDos attack on our systems,” wrote Ihor Smilianskyi, director general of Ukraine’s national postal service, on Facebook.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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