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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Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.