Posted on October 24, 2017 at 6:12 PM
A DDoS attack launched by unknown hackers caused two Czech parliamentary election sites to be down this past weekend.
Two websites dedicated to electing new parliamentary members in the Czech Republic, volby.cz, and volbyhned.cz, experienced a temporary downtime this last Saturday (21 October 2017) due to a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.
Even though the website was down for several hours during the vote count, a spokesperson for the Czech statistical office, Petra Bacova, confirmed that the attack did not affect the overall election.
According to Bacacova, the quick response from the website administrators contributing to neutralizing the servers, which in turn allowed the affected websites to continue their work.
After the DDoS attack, the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency launched an investigation in conjunction with other local authorities as to find more details surrounding the attack.
Both affected websites have been considered vulnerable since they ran the outdated HTTP protocol, instead of the HPPS protocol.
The Czech Parliament and its lawmakers have a long history of being targeted by malicious hackers. Earlier this year, new evidence confirmed that unnamed hackers infiltrated 168 different email accounts belonging to members of Parliament. In addition, it was discovered that hackers were able to steal over 7000 diplomatic documents from the Parliament’s servers that required a high-level security clearance.
The Deutsche Welle confirmed that the hackers managed to steal documents that came from IP addresses located in Russia, the UK, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Some of the stolen documents include those pertaining to specific negotiations, the EU military commission, as well as ambassador appointments.
During the entire electoral campaign and process, there have been widespread reports confirming several disruption and irregularities in the government websites. These disruptions merely demonstrate with how much ease a hacker can infiltrate a network and cause damage using a DDoS attack.
Director of Corero Network Security, Sean Newman, stated that hackers could also easily use DDoS attacks to influence the outcome of the election process.
Newman continued to emphasize that every organization of all sizes across the governmental and economic sector should ensure that they have ample DDoS protections in place. He added that truly effective real-time DDoS measurements will be able to automatically detect and block attacks. This would allow regular web traffic to continue as normal, and ensure that all web-based operations continue to work optimally.