DHS Acknowledges Hackers Shut Down Airport Websites

On Monday, at least seven major U.S. airports‘ public-facing websites were targeted and momentarily taken down, according to a Department of Homeland Security official who spoke with USA TODAY.

Although it appeared to be a coordinated series of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) incidents, the official from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) refused to comment on who might be responsible for the attacks. These attacks did not disrupt airport operations or flights.

DHS Acknowledges Hackers Shut Down Airport Websites
DHS Acknowledges Hackers Shut Down Airport Websites

“Security researchers at CISA have learned that several airports in the United States have been hit by distributed denial of service assaults. We’re working with organizations that might be affected to make sure they have what they need, if they need it “added the official who would not go on the record or disclose any other details about the cyber assaults or their possible perpetrators.

According to the Russian service of the Voice of America’s official Twitter account, Russian-speaking “hacktivists” from a group calling themselves KillNet claimed responsibility for the attacks, which temporarily took down websites at 14 airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

According to CISA, distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) include sending a large number of requests to a server at once. According to former White House cybersecurity staffer Frank Cilluffo, the airports’ systems were overloaded with hundreds of queries, making it almost difficult for passengers to connect and check on the status of their flights or book airport services.

According to the Russian service of the Voice of America’s official Twitter account, Russian-speaking “hacktivists” from a group calling themselves KillNet claimed responsibility for the attacks that temporarily took down websites at 14 airports, including the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

According to CISA, distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) include sending a large number of requests to a server at once. According to former White House cybersecurity specialist Frank Cilluffo, the airport websites’ hosting servers were inundated with thousands of queries, making it almost difficult for guests to connect and check the status of their flights or purchase airport services.

Last week, KillNet reportedly launched attacks on other U.S. targets, including government websites in Colorado, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

According to former NSA general counsel and current law professor Glenn Gerstell (who served from 2015 to 2020), such assaults are notoriously difficult to credit, particularly so soon after what seems to be a coordinated global strike. But he claimed the Russian government is the most probable culprit, maybe using private cyber organizations as it routinely does.

According to Gerstell, who previously sat on the president’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council, “it’s hard to imagine it’s the work of simply random crooks or young hackers just having fun,” since the attacks seem to be coordinated across numerous major airline airport websites. Regarding security risks to the nation’s infrastructure, the council provides briefings to the president and the secretary of Homeland Security.

Gerstell said, “It does clearly demonstrate our susceptibility here in the United States to cyber assaults due to acts and political events that place halfway across the globe.”

Gerstell, who is now a senior adviser to the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., said that it was encouraging that no operational systems seemed to have been taken down.

“Airline operations” and “airport operations,” he added, “do not seem to have been disrupted, much less airport control.” “But it does show our weaknesses in information technology and how we all depend on it,” the author writes, “whether it’s simply utilizing our mobile phones to check when a flight is arriving or going or the present operations at a busy airport.”

 

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