On Wednesday, several Italian institutions were hit, including the websites of the Senate and the Defense Ministry. The pro-Russian hacker collective Killnet claimed responsibility for this multiple attack.
The webpages of the upper house and the ministry are the first to be decommissioned this Wednesday, May 11, followed by the pages of other public institutions, such as large Italian companies. Cybersecurity experts quickly uncovered the trail of pro-Russian Killnet hackers, who were quick to claim responsibility for the attack, threatening to sue.
Italy as the main target of a cyberattack
It would seem that the hackers did not limit their actions to the peninsula, in view of the difficulties that the computer devices of several German airports and Polish companies faced at the same time. However, by hacking into a series of addresses posted on Telegram by a pro-Russian collective, Italian cybersecurity services would find an explicit mention of “attack on Italy” accompanied by a list of target networks. In the afternoon, the websites of the Higher Institute of Health, the School of Advanced Studies of Lucca, the service companies Compass and Infomedix, and the Automobile Club of Italy were put out of action, which were among the targets.
Killnet also addressed a direct threat to Italy, also meant for Spain: “Mirai is coming to your country. This could be the beginning of your end.” According to experts, Mirai is a network of compromised computers used for such attacks. A way for hackers to say they don’t intend to stop there.
Hacktivism: a mode of action characteristic of the political emissaries of the network.
According to experts, hackers carried out distributed denial of service (DDos) attacks. This means that they used multiple sources to flood target networks with data to prevent them from functioning properly and being used normally. This course of action, which renders IT infrastructure inefficient without damaging it, is different from ransomware cybercriminals.
By choosing this process, Killnet’s hackers are part of a militant approach that tends to confirm experts’ suspicions that the collective is affiliated with the Kremlin’s armed forces. Recall that this attack occurred the day after Mario Draghi’s meeting with Joe Biden, during which the Italian Prime Minister and the US President confirmed their disapproval of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as their hostility towards Putin.