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Minister: Ukrainian hackers behind massive attack on Russian airports

by Dominic Culverwell October 5, 2023 6:49 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's IT Army targeted Russian airports last week in a major cyberattack. (Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian hackers paralyzed Russia’s largest airports in a recent attack, Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on Oct. 5.

Ukraine’s “IT Army” flooded the Russian airline booking system Leonardo with internet traffic in a massive Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack on Sept. 28.

Passengers were unable to access booking services and online and airport check-ins, Russian state-owned conglomerate Rostec, which operates Leonardo, told Russian media RBC. The company did not specify where the attack originated from.

Fedorov’s announcement confirmed speculations that Ukraine was behind the incident.

“The IT army is actively working, with Russian websites going down almost every day, data leaking out, and government agencies being paralyzed,” the minister wrote on his Telegram channel.

“If Ukrainian airports cannot operate because of the war, why should Russian ones?”

Rostec announced later in the day that systems had been restored following delayed flights.

The organization oversees a significant chunk of Russia’s defense sector.  It said that Leonardo had been targeted dozens of times in recent months in an ongoing “cyberwar” that aims to damage Russia’s IT infrastructure and disrupt important industries.

Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression is taking place in the cybersphere just as much as on the battlefields.

The IT Army of Ukraine was formed two days after Russia’s full-scale invasion and regularly conducts attacks against the Russian government, military, and financial institutions as well as providing intelligence to Kyiv.

“The IT army is constantly upgrading its skills, expanding, and preparing new 'surprises' for the Russians. The victory will be Ukraine's, including in cyberspace,” Fedorov said.

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