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Pro-Russian hackers blamed for 2022 spike in cyberattacks on US national security

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Cyberattacks aiming to disrupt the websites of the US national security sector increased in the second half of 2022, driven by pro-Russian hackers Killnet over US support of Ukraine in the war, according to a report released on Tuesday.

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DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, in which cybercriminals essentially flood a website server with internet traffic so users of the website cannot access it, increased by just over 16 percent in the second half of 2022, compared to the first half of the year, cybersecurity firm NETSCOUT said.

“Analysis of the spikes in DDoS attacks overwhelmingly pointed to the pro-Russia Killnet group as the responsible party for launching a barrage of attacks on government organizations and websites because of the country’s continued support for Ukraine,” the report said.

Killnet Group – pro-Russian hackers – emerged in 2022, to “wage war” on Ukraine supporters, the report said.

During the G7 summit in Madrid last year, US President Joe Biden on June 30 pledged support for Ukraine during its war with Russia, for as “long as it takes” for the conflict to end.

Following these comments, there were hundreds of attacks on the US’ national security sector over a few days, with evidence point to a series of tweets in which Killnet “claimed victory” in taking down the website, according to the report.

In October of that year the US treasury department confirmed it had “thwarted” an attack from Killnet, which reportedly called for attacks on the US government “entities, contractors and websites” a month later.

Information used in the report from data provider ALTAS said that DDoS attacks have jumped by more than 800 percent from 2013 to 2022. The report added that these attacks “are one of the most frequent cybersecurity threats facing organizations today.”

“What may seem mundane is actually incredibly complex. DDoS attacks span countries, networks, and techniques like water finding a path through any available means. A single attack can span dozens of countries and networks,” the report said.

It added: “From nihilism to extortionism, adversaries leverage DDoS attacks to incite fear, cause mayhem, and cash out.”

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