Russian-backed hackers target Lithuanian websites

By drafting a new United Nations cybercrime treaty, Russia and China seek to legitimize authoritarian internet control and undermine digital human rights.

Several public and private sector websites in Lithuania were temporarily down on Monday following a cyberattack reportedly carried out by a Russian-backed hacking group.

Lithuania’s acting director of the National Cyber Security Centre, Jonas Skardinskas, said the disruption was an ongoing distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that targeted the country’s Secure National Data Transfer as well as other governmental institutions and private companies. 

“It is highly probable that such or even more intense attacks will continue into the coming days, especially against the communications, energy and financial sectors,” Skardinskas said. 

A Russian-backed hacking group, known as Killnet, has claimed responsibility for the hack against Lithuania, according to multiple news reports. 

The hackers claimed the attack was in retaliation for Lithuania’s decision to halt the shipment of some goods to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, which is situated between Poland and Lithuania, Reuters reported. 

Lithuania’s defense ministry urged all governmental and private institutions to take extra cybersecurity precautions and follow government guidance against DDoS attacks. The agency also warned of possible ransomware and website defacement efforts.  

The hack follows a Microsoft report released last week detailing how Russia launched numerous cyber espionage campaigns against Ukraine and its allies. 

The report found that the campaigns targeted entities in 42 countries spread across six continents and primarily focused on groups supporting Ukraine and NATO allies, including the United States, which has been Russia’s top target. 

The tech company also found increased cyber activity in Poland as well as in Finland and Sweden, which have recently applied for NATO membership.

The Hill has reached out to the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington for comment.

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