Italy target of major Russia-linked cyberattack, again

Russian hackers used DDoS attacks to target the foreign ministry’s website, the education and cultural heritage ministry, and the defence ministry in an attempt to overload servers. The Senate, the Superior Council of the Magistracy, and the websites of transport infrastructures like airports and trains were also targeted. The attacks caused several delays and some downtimes that made them inaccessible. [Shutterstock/Joyseulay]

Pro-Russian hacker group Killnet and its affiliate Legion targeted thousands of websites, including government websites, in a coordinated cyberattack on Friday, Italian police reported.

Russian hackers used DDoS attacks to target the foreign ministry’s website, the education and cultural heritage ministry, and the defence ministry in an attempt to overload servers. The Senate, the Superior Council of the Magistracy, and the websites of transport infrastructures like airports and trains were also targeted. The attacks caused several delays and some downtimes that made them inaccessible.

Attempts to attack institutional web portals have been recurring in the last ten days, including during the Eurovision Song Attack, which the same Pro-Russian hackers’ group later claimed on Telegram. According to experts, hackers are planning a cyberwar and are now testing the systems.

Meanwhile, the government has recently launched the National Cybersecurity Strategy 2022-2026, which includes actions to “strengthen resilience in the digital transition”, “anticipate the evolution of the threat”, manage crises and “counter online disinformation,” as reported by news agency Ansa.

Disinformation and the spread of pro-Kremlin propaganda on Italian channels have also become a concern for Italian lawmakers since TV broadcaster Rete 4 aired Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s false claims a few weeks ago.

Amid the suspicion that commenters in broadcasts could spread Pro-Kremlin propaganda, the Italian parliamentary committee for security, Copasir, has already started an investigation “into foreign forms of disinformation and interference”.

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