Lithuania Websites Are Down. Russian Hackers Claim Responsibility Over Cyberattack
Russian hacker group Killnet has claimed responsibility for a denial-of-service (DDOS) cyberattack on Lithuania, saying it was in response to the decision by Vilnius to block the transit of some sanctioned goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
Lithuanian state and private institutions were hit by the denial-of-service cyberattack on Monday, the Baltic country’s National Cyber Security Centre said in a statement released by the defence ministry.
“It is very likely that attacks of similar or greater intensity will continue in the coming days, especially in the transportation, energy and financial sectors,” the centre said.
Secure networks used by Lithuanian state institutions were among those affected, it added.
A spokesperson for the Russian hacking group Killnet later confirmed that it was behind the cyberattack, Reuters reported.
When asked if the attack was in retaliation for Lithuania blocking the transit of goods sanctioned by the European Union to Kaliningrad, a spokesperson for the Killnet group said: “Yes”.
This attack follows Lithuania’s recent ban on the transit of goods sanctioned by the EU to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, an act that enraged Moscow and who promised a “practical” response to Vilnius for its actions.
Russia’s foreign ministry has demanded the lifting of what it terms Lithuania’s “openly hostile” restrictions on rail transit to Kaliningrad. The list of banned goods includes coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology.
“If in the near future cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the territory of the Russian Federation through Lithuania is not restored in full, then Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement last week.
“The situation is more than serious and it requires a very deep analysis before formulating any measures and decisions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Russian hacker group Killnet claimed responsibility on Monday for a DDOS cyber attack on Lithuania, saying it was in response to Vilnius's decision to block the transit of goods sanctioned by the European Union to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
"The attack will continue until Lithuania lifts the blockade," a spokesperson for the Killnet group told Reuters. "We have demolished 1652 web resources. And that's just so far."
Confirmed: Metrics show a disruption to government networks in #Lithuania as the National Cyber Security Centre reports a denial-of-service cyberattack affecting secure networks used by state institutions, also affecting public and private internet infrastructure
Russian hackers have continued attacking Lithuanian website's throughout Monday. Users with IP addresses outside Lithuania experienced issues with Lithuanian airport websites while some could not connect to websites of financial service providers. Killnet boasted attacking over a thousand Lithuanian websites, repeating the demands drop EU sanctions against Russia.
Websites of major telecommunication services providers were also affected by the DDoS attack with some loading unusually slow and other not loading at all. The group also targeted a platform for purchasing cross country bus tickets as well as website of the Supreme Court of Lithuania.
Lithuania's cyber watchdog noted an increase in DDoS attacks against the country last Friday, saying that threat actors targeted government agencies, transport, and finance sectors.
Attackers disrupted the website of the Lithuanian Railways, preventing passengers from purchasing train tickets online. It's not clear whether the attacks NCSC announced are related to Killnet.
Lithuania, a NATO and EU member, borders Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave wedged between Lithuania and Poland. Freight transport from the Russian mainland reaches Kaliningrad via Lithuanian territory. This route has been made difficult to complete for some good amidst EU sanctioning Russia for starting a war against Ukraine.