Russia's main security agency warned of a plot by unspecified foreign intelligence services to launch "large-scale" cyberattacks aimed at destabilizing the country's financial system.
In a statement December 2, the Federal Security Service did not identify the alleged culprits behind the plot, but said computer servers involved were located in the Netherlands and were registered to Ukrainian web-hosting company BlazingFast.
Тhe statement said the attacks would allegedly begin December 5 and be accompanied by a stream of text messages and posts on social networks containing claims of an imminent collapse of Russia's major banks and the financial system's breakdown.
It said the attack would target several dozen Russian cities.
Russia's central bank said it was aware of the threat, adding that it has drawn up a plan to counteract any attack.
"The situation is under control," it said. "Banks have been given necessary guidance."
There was no way to immediately confirm the report.
The director of Kyiv-based BlazingFast, Anton Onoprichuk, said no intelligence agency had been in touch with his company. He also said he was waiting for more information so the company could investigate.
The alleged plot comes amid growing number of hacks and cyberattacks targeting institutions around the world, some committed by private individuals, others by government-sponsored cyber groups.
After the U.S. government publicly accused the Russian government of involvement in the hack of Democratic party officials, U.S. intelligence later promised counter-measures.
Vice President Joe Biden said in October "we're sending a message" to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"It will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact," he warned.
Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and AP