The attack, which began on Thursday evening and was still in progress as of Friday early afternoon, was reportedly confirmed by Italy’s Postal Police who are investigating the matter.
Among the fifty or so institutions targeted are Italy’s Superior Council of the Judiciary, its Customs Agency, and its foreign affairs, education, and cultural heritage ministries, according to the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.
Killnet claimed the attack in a Telegram message, instructing its members to “fire on all fronts” in order to “liquidate the Italian information structure” – but to leave its healthcare system untouched.
On Friday shortly before 1pm Italian time, Italy’s embassy in London tweeted that the websites of the country’s foreign ministry and all its embassies had been hit and were out of action.
🚨Attacco informatico – Disagi all'utenza. Il sito del Ministero degli Esteri e gli applicativi consolari di questa Sede sono stati colpiti da un attacco informatico. Ci scusiamo con l'utenza in quanto si stanno verificando disagi e ritardi nella lavorazione delle pratiche pic.twitter.com/4eohBWMy0U
— Italy in London (@ItalyinLDN) May 20, 2022
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and consular applications at this location have been affected by a cyber attack,” the tweet reads.
“We apologize to users for inconveniences and delays in the processing of paperwork.”
Just last week, Killnet launched a separate cyberattack on the official Italian websites including those of Italy’s defence ministry and senate.
On that occasion the issue was resolved within the space of hours, with senate President Elisabetta Alberti Casellati tweeting that no damage had ultimately been done.
In both cases, DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks were used, which involves overloading a site’s servers by flooding it with requests but does not compromise its infrastructure.
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.