An apparently coordinated denial-of-service attack organized by pro-Russia hackers rendered the websites of some major U.S. airports unreachable early Monday, though officials said flights were not affected.
No immediate signs of impact to actual air travel were reported, suggesting the issue may be an inconvenience for people seeking travel information.
The cyberattacks claimed by Killnet impacted the websites for Los Angeles International, Chicago O’Hare, and Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, among others.
The Los Angeles International Airport website was offline earlier but appeared to be restored shortly before 9 a.m. Eastern. A spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.
The hacking group listed multiple US airports as targets. It stepped up activity to target organizations in NATO countries after Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. The loosely organized “hacktivists” are politically motivated to support the Kremlin but ties to Moscow are unknown.
The group claimed responsibility last week for knocking offline US state governments websites. Killnet is blamed for briefly downing a US Congress website in July and for cyberattacks on organizations in Lithuania after the country blocked shipment of goods to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad 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.
John Hultquist, vice president for threat intelligence at the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, tweeted that denial-of-service attacks like those aimed at the airports and state governments are usually short in duration and “typically superficial.”
“These are not the serious impacts that have kept us awake,” he said.
Such attacks instead tend to reveal insufficient attention by webmasters to adequate bulletproofing of sites, which now includes DDoS protection service.
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