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Hackers target Government websites ‘anything to do with local elections’  | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Russian-based hackers have targeted websites with “anything to do with local elections”, according to one cybersecurity expert. 

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) were made aware of a “series of low impact Distributed Denial of Service or ‘DDoS’ attacks” on Friday night ahead of counting for the local and European elections. 

A DDoS involves attempting to overwhelm a website with traffic by refreshing it constantly until it crashes.  

According to the NCSC, these attacks are typically low-cost and low-impact, aimed at attracting attention rather than causing significant harm.  

It said the impact of this activity has been “minimal”. 

National websites affected

CommSec Cyber Security Founder David McNamara said the concern is what might have happened beyond the DDoS. 

“What could happen and this is where organisations need to be mindful is it could be a distraction for what they’re doing in the background,” he said. 

“This is a European directive that websites deemed essential and important need to be careful.” 

Websites such as Irish Rail, the National Transport Authority and voter.ie were targets of low-level hacking. 

Hackers focused on Europe

Mr McNamara said the targets were “anything to do with local elections”. 

“Most likely Russian-backed hackers and that’s the general consensus even from the NCSC,” he said. 

“It’s most likely across all member states because of these European elections. 

“The activists are notorious for trying to disrupt these types of elections and cause disinformation as well.” 

The hackers were sending a message “right across the EU” through its activity. 

“I would advise caution for Voter.ie in terms of absolutely looking to see if there was a breach and have forensically examined their infrastructure,” Mr McNamara said. 

The NCSC said this ‘hacktivist group’ is part of a pattern of events across the EU and “is in line with the experiences of other EU member states”.

Last week, a Russian, pro-Putin hacker group claimed responsibility for what seems to be a coordinated attack on the websites of Dutch political parties and EU institutions on the first day of the European elections. 


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