December 3, 2022

Pro-Russian hackers claim responsibility for knocking US airport websites offline: NPR

LAX officials told NPR that FlyLAX.com was partially affected early Monday morning. Officials said the service disruption did not compromise internal airport systems and there were no operational disruptions.

Ashley Landis/AP


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Ashley Landis/AP

LAX officials told NPR that FlyLAX.com was partially affected early Monday morning. Officials said the service disruption did not compromise internal airport systems and there were no operational disruptions.

Ashley Landis/AP

A pro-Russian hacker group is taking credit for temporarily taking down several US airport websites on Monday, although flight operations were not affected.

The attacks Gillnet said affected the websites of Los Angeles International, Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta.

The group published a list of airports on Telegram urging hackers to participate in a DDoS attack — a distributed denial of service that occurs when computer networks are flooded with simultaneous data transmissions.

The group’s call to action includes airports across the country including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts. Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi and Missouri.

It was not immediately clear how many airports were actually affected and whether all of the affected sites experienced any disruption.

In a statement, LAX officials told NPR that FlyLAX.com was partially affected early Monday morning.

“The service disruption was limited to the public-facing areas of the FlyLAX.com website. No internal airport systems were compromised and there were no operational disruptions,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

He said the airport’s IT team has restored all services and is investigating the cause. Officials have also notified the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration.

At around 1 p.m. in Atlanta, Officials said ATL.com was “up and running after an incident early this morning and was unavailable to the public.” But people on Twitter continued to complain of being unable to access parts of the site for several hours after the announcement.

Atlanta airport officials said no airport operations were affected.

In an earlier post on Monday, Gilnet cited other vulnerable US sites that could be subject to similar DDoS strikes, including marine terminals and logistics facilities, weather observatories, health care systems, subway systems and exchanges, and online trading systems.

Claiming to have helped push the sites offline, “Who participated in the dissolution of America, don’t stop!!”

Attacks come from the heel Another series of cyber attacks It was reportedly launched by the group last week. In that event, the group took credit for mobilizing hackers into state government sites.

Both campaigns appear to have been fueled by anti-American sentiment over the country’s involvement in the ongoing war in Ukraine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin pressing ahead with the invasion despite tough economic sanctions.