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.
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.”
Nessun danno dall’attacco #hacker che ha coinvolto la rete esterna del #Senato. Un grazie ai tecnici per l’immediato intervento. Si tratta di episodi gravi, che non vanno sottovalutati. Continueremo a tenere alta la guardia. @SenatoStampa
— Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati (@Pres_Casellati) May 11, 2022
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.
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.