Czech Republic Faces Disruption as Government and Key Organizations Hit by Cyberattacks

In a concerning turn of events, the websites of the Czech Interior Ministry and the police became inaccessible for approximately two hours due to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, as confirmed by the ministry’s spokesperson, Ondrej Kratoska. The incident also affected Prague airport, which reported a similar DDoS attack that temporarily took down its website between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., though it did not disrupt airport operations.

The Czech Interior Ministry swiftly responded to the cyberattack by implementing protective measures, including restricting access from abroad, and working diligently to restore website functionality. Interior Minister Vit Rakusan revealed that one theory under investigation pointed towards Russian hackers being responsible for the attack.

According to computer security company GenDigital, the pro-Russian group NoName057 was identified as the source of the attack, facilitated through the DDosia platform. GenDigital further reported that this same group had also targeted the website of the Czech government and the lower and upper houses of parliament. While the government website remained inaccessible until approximately 2 p.m., the other affected websites were back in operation.

DDoS attacks involve a large number of compromised computers, controlled by hackers, bombarding a targeted server with an overwhelming volume of requests, causing it to become unresponsive.

Avast researcher Martin Chlumecky highlighted the group NoName057’s pro-Russian affiliations, noting that they have been targeting countries that support Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. Chlumecky emphasized that these attacks appear to be a response to the Crimea Platform international summit hosted in Prague, aimed at advocating for the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

The Crimea Platform website also experienced downtime due to the attack. Martin Churavy, spokesperson for the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, suggested that the attack likely originated from the Russian side.

This incident is not an isolated event, as the Czech Republic has encountered a series of DDoS attacks on government institutions and major companies, often attributed to pro-Russian hacker groups since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. DDoS attacks are frequently employed in the ongoing cyber warfare parallel to the real conflict in Ukraine.

The National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NUKIB) reported a concerning trend, recording 21 cyber incidents in the Czech Republic in September, which exceeded the average number. These incidents included continued attacks on Czech banks. While none of them were deemed highly significant by NUKIB, they underscore the growing cybersecurity threats faced by the nation.

As investigations continue, the Czech government and related organizations will need to remain vigilant and bolster their cybersecurity defenses to mitigate the risks posed by such cyberattacks. The need for international cooperation to combat cyber threats, especially in the context of geopolitical tensions, remains paramount.

Article by Prague Forum

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