Is This Putin Striking Back? Reports Of Cyberattacks At Major Airports Across The US

Some of the largest U.S. airports were the victims of cyberattacks Monday and a hacktivist group in Russia is being blamed. The attacks came from inside Russia, according to a senior official.

Rather than attacking air traffic control, transportation security, internal airline communications or coordination, the attacker went after web domains that serve the public, such as those reporting airport wait times and congestion.

Flights were not impacted.

The first attack was reported at around 3 a.m. ET at New York’s LaGuardia Airport when the Port Authority notified the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. LaGuardia’s website has been restored, but CNN reported more than a dozen other airports around the U.S. were subsequently targeted.

These include websites for Los Angeles International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Des Moines International Airport, ABC News reported.

Atlanta Airport reported at around 10:30 a.m. ET that its site is restored. “At no time were operations at the airport impacted,” the airport reported.

Killnet, a “hacktivist” group that is politically motivated to support the Kremlin, has listed multiple U.S. airports as targets, CNN reported. It started more actively targeting entities in NATO countries after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

The group claimed responsibility last week for knocking U.S. state government websites offline and briefly took down a U.S. Congress website in July. It has been blamed for cyberattacks in Lithuania after the country blocked a shipment of goods to Russia in June.

The type of cyberattack used by Killnet is known as “distributed denial of service” (DDoS), in which hackers flood computer servers with phony web traffic to knock them offline.

“DDoS attacks are favored by actors of varying sophistication because they have visible results, but these incidents are usually superficial and short lived,” John Hultquist, a vice president at Google-owned cybersecurity firm Mandiant, told CNN.

Photos: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, May 9, 2014. (AP/Ivan Sekretarev) / Explosion image credit: KREMLL/ iStock, 

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