Illia Vitiuk
Illia Vitiuk at event in Washington in September 2023. Image: Billington Cyber Security

Zelensky officially dismisses Ukrainian security services' cyber chief

The head of the cybersecurity department at Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), Illia Vitiuk, has been formally dismissed from his post following an investigation into his personal finances.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree on Wednesday confirming Vitiuk’s discharge on Wednesday. No additional details were provided.

Earlier in April, Vitiuk was suspended from his official duties and reassigned to serve in combat while Ukrainian anti-corruption authorities verified the details of the investigation into Vitiuk’s suspiciously luxurious lifestyle.

According to the report by the Ukrainian investigative outlet Slidstvo.Info, Vitiuk and his family owned real estate that they couldn't afford with their official salaries. 

After the investigation was published, said that an employee of the SBU appeared to have given instructions to representatives of the Ukrainian military enlistment office to draft the journalist behind the investigation into the armed services, in retaliation.

The authorities didn’t reveal the results of the investigation or who will be Vitiuk’s successor. 

Vitiuk is a well-known figure in Ukrainian cybersecurity. He frequently takes the stage at international conferences and gives interviews to major foreign media outlets. He was the first government official to provide insight into the cyberattack on Ukraine’s largest telecom operator, Kyivstar, carried out by Russian hackers earlier last year.

Vitiiuk is not the first Ukrainian cyber official suspected of financial abuse. In November, two high-ranking cybersecurity officials in Ukraine were dismissed amid an investigation into suspected embezzlement of state funds. They are suspected of involvement in a software procurement scheme in which they allegedly embezzled $1.72 million between 2020 and 2022.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.