With tensions continuing to rise over in Ukraine, it appears what people physically notice is not the only war measures that Russia is planning. There are reports that a data-wiping tool has been released on the country’s government and commercial organizations, raising concerns of a possible cyberattack.

A malware, called “wiper,” has been reportedly released and discovered on Wednesday, Feb. 23. According to researchers, this kind of malware is designed to delete data from computers and render them inoperable, CNN reported.

“We are aware of multiple commercial and government organizations in Ukraine impacted by the destructive malware today,” Charles Carmakal, senior vice president and chief technology officer for cybersecurity firm Mandiant, said.

As of this writing, at least one Ukrainian financial institution and government contractor with a presence in Latvia, Vikram Thakur have been hacked according to a technical director at Broadcom’s cybersecurity unit Symantec.

It is believed that the hacking tool was created two months ago but was only deployed recently and is only seen in Ukraine.

This coincides with belief that Russia may resort to cyberattacks outside military action in Ukraine. The White House blamed Russia’s military intelligence directorate, the GRU, for a separate set of cyberattacks on Ukrainian websites last week.

As this was being reported, United States Vice President Kamala Harris warned that further sanctions could be meted on Russia for their continued aggressive actions in Ukraine, branding the situation on the ground as a reinvasion.

“As you know, we have imposed significant costs in response to Russia’s reinvasion of Ukraine, and we are working closely with our partners and allies in that regard,” Harris said ahead of a meeting with leaders from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

She also reiterated that a full-scale attack on Ukraine remains inevitable and the US administration would remain vigilant as it monitors the developments in the country closely.

“If Russia goes further,” Harris said, “we will impose more costs that will be swift and severe.”

Mirai malware linked to elaborate botnet behind Dyn DDoS attack. Getty Images

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