Pro-Russia hackers target Italian official websites

Pro-Russia hackers targeted the websites of several Italian institutions including the defence ministry and the senate, media reports said on Wednesday.

The pro-Kremlin group “Killnet” claimed responsibility for a cyberattack on Italian official websites.
The pro-Kremlin group “Killnet” claimed responsibility for a cyberattack on Italian official websites. Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP.

The defence ministry’s website was “under maintenance” and the senate’s was inaccessible before both were back up and running hours after the attack.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera said the pro-Kremlin group “Killnet” claimed the cyberattack, which had reportedly not compromised infrastructure but hindered access to several websites including the National Institute of Health.

READ ALSO: Italy’s cybersecurity agency warns against use of Russian software

The hack was a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, which involves flooding a site with so many simultaneous access requests its servers become overloaded and the site becomes temporarily unusable, according to news agency Ansa.

“No damage from the hacker attack that involved the Senate’s external network,” wrote Italy’s Senate President Elisabetta Alberti Casellati in a tweet posted on Wednesday evening.

“Thanks to the technicians for their immediate intervention. These are serious episodes that should not be underestimated. We will continue to keep our guard up.”

The hackers also tried unsuccessfully to hack the Eurovision song contest’s website, according to Italian news reports.

“Can’t vote online? Perhaps our ddos ​​attack & # 8203; & # 8203; is responsible for everything,” the group reportedly taunted.

But Corriere della Sera reports that Claudio Fasulo, deputy director of the Rai1 TV channel, said the voting platform had not experienced any issues. “Everything is working smoothly,” Fasulo said.

READ ALSO: Vaccine bookings affected as hackers shut down Rome region’s website

Killnet targeted Romanian government websites last month, citing Romania’s support for Ukraine in the war against Russia, according to the country’s national cybersecurity agency.

Romania’s intelligence service said the group has also targeted official websites of the United States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and NATO.

In August 2021, the Rome region suffered a large-scale cyberattack that caused the suspension of Covid-19 vaccination reservations.

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How Italy is housing Ukrainian refugees in seized mafia properties

The Italian government has begun housing Ukrainian refugees in properties seized from the mafia.

How Italy is housing Ukrainian refugees in seized mafia properties

More than 118,000 people have arrived in Italy as refugees from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February 2022. 

The Italian government announced that some would be housed in more than 600 properties seized from organised criminal gangs – among them lavish villas, mansions, apartments and hotels. 

READ ALSO: How is Italy responding to the Ukraine refugee crisis?

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said the initiative will “guarantee hospitality to refugees leaving a theatre of war”.  

Authorities seized €1.9 billion in assets from Italian crime bosses in 2021 alone.

Seized assets is managed by an organisation known as the National Agency for the Administration of Assets Confiscated from Organised Crime (ANBSC) – which in total has more than 40,000 properties on its books.

About one third of confiscated assets are located in Sicily.

The ANBSC said that further seized properties would be made available to house Ukrainians once they have been deemed habitable. 

The majority of refugees entering Italy from Ukraine are concentrated in four Italian regions: Lombardy, Lazio, Campania and Emilia-Romagna, with most arrivals gravitating towards their respective capitals of Milan, Rome, Naples and Bologna. 

Authorities hope that this scheme will ease the pressure placed on local housing stocks as a result of the war.