Pro-Russian hacker group Killnet hits critical government websites in Lithuania

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A group of Russian-affiliated hackers operating under the Killnet banner hit several Lithuanian government websites last week.

According to a video message posted by the group’s Telegram channel, the attacks were a response to Lithuanian sanctions against Russia following the country’s military invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

The video demanded that Lithuania allow transit of goods to Kaliningrad if it wanted to avoid further disruption to its government institutions and the internet infrastructure of private businesses.

Among the websites removed by Killnet are the State Tax Inspectorate (STI) of Lithuania and B1.lt, one of the largest accounting service providers in the country, both of which are still offline at the time of writing.

Killnet also claimed to have taken down Lithuanian e-government services, including that of the National Police, but both sites now appear to be functional.

For context, before the war started, the name “Killnet” referred to a DDoS tool offered to threat actors on the dark web.

The hacking group, eventually identified as Killnet, reportedly made heavy use of this tool, renting several botnets for $1,350 per month, which had a reported capacity of 500 GB per second.

Fast forward to April, the pro-Russian hacking group has been active since the start of the 2022 Russian-Ukrainian conflict, with Five Eyes agencies issuing warnings against it the same month.

“Cybersecurity authorities in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United Kingdom are urging defenders of critical infrastructure networks to prepare for and mitigate potential cyber threats, including destructive malware, ransomware, [distributed denial of service] (DDoS) and cyber espionage, strengthening their cyber defenses and exercising due diligence to identify indicators of malicious activity,” the advisory read.

Since then, Killnet has been accused of cyber attacks against Romania, Germany, Czechia, Latvia and on the Eurovision Song Contest website while performing Ukraine. This latest attack was foiled by the Italian police.

Perhaps in retaliation for this, Killnet then targeted around 50 Italian institutions in May, including the judicial council.

More recently, the hacktivist group Anonymous declared a cyberwar against Killnet, taking its website offline in May and hacking into the Russian ministry’s website in June.

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