Pro-Russian Hacker Groups Launch Series of DDoS Attacks, Targeting Czech Republic and Beyond

A wave of massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, originating from pro-Russian hacker groups, has disrupted numerous domestic servers, causing concerns among cybersecurity experts. These attacks, which initially targeted the Czech Republic, have extended to other countries and organizations that support Ukraine or express non-pro-Russian viewpoints.

On Tuesday, the cybersecurity firm Check Point reported a significant surge in DDoS attacks carried out by the Russian hacktivist group NoName057(16). The group primarily focused on the Czech Republic, directing its attacks at crucial state institutions, including the Office of the Government, Senate, Chamber of Deputies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Czech Police, and more. Notably, the Prague Airport and the Prague Public Transit Company were also affected. While on Tuesday, the attacks resulted in prolonged disruptions, Wednesday saw only sporadic interruptions.

These cyberattacks are not isolated incidents. The pro-Russian hacker group Killnet actively conducts attacks across Europe, while the Cyber Army of Russia primarily targets Ukraine. The International Crimean Platform Summit served as a catalyst for these attacks. Security experts have been closely monitoring these groups’ activities as they exploit cyberspace as an additional battleground.

The attacks are coordinated and strategic, aimed at organizations that support Ukraine or have expressed non-pro-Russian viewpoints. The attacks are expected to increase in frequency.

Avast, an antivirus company, conducted an in-depth analysis of the cyber onslaught and revealed that these attacks were orchestrated through a voluntary platform called DDosia, which is managed by members of the pro-Russian group NoName057(16). The hackers openly discussed their achievements on Telegram.

Pavel Klimeš from Gen Digital, the parent company of Avast, highlighted the group’s history of targeting countries that support Ukraine. Initially, they focused on news servers reporting on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, but later expanded their targets to include companies, state institutions, and European organizations expressing support for Ukraine.

The groups’ activities extend beyond cyberattacks. At the end of August, they targeted most Czech banks, causing significant disruptions to their online services.

While these DDoS attacks do not compromise the institutions’ data, they temporarily render websites inaccessible to visitors due to the overwhelming number of requests directed at their servers. The National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) has repeatedly warned about the increasing cyber attacks, including DDoS incidents. In August and September, the Czech Republic experienced a higher number of cyber incidents than the average. While only 13 incidents were reported in July, the numbers increased to 27 in August and 21 in September.

The strength of these pro-Russian hacker groups is on the rise, and they have begun targeting more sensitive institutions with significant media impact. Successful attacks can damage the reputation of the targeted institution and result in substantial financial losses, particularly when online financial services are disrupted.

As the frequency of cyberattacks continues to grow, organizations must maintain vigilance and implement robust security measures and preventive defenses to protect their digital infrastructure from such disruptions. Cybersecurity experts emphasize the need for ongoing vigilance and collaboration to counter these evolving threats effectively.

Article by Prague Forum

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