Posted on May 17, 2022 at 7:03 PM
The Killnet pro-Russian hacking group that targeted the Eurovision song contest in Italy has declared “war” against Italy and ten other countries. Earlier this week, Italian authorities stopped an attack on the Eurovision voting system after the group tried to disrupt the event.
The event was later won by Ukraine folk-rap band Kalush Orchestra. Russia was billed to participate in the event, but it was barred after the Russian government invaded Ukraine. The event had a viewership of more than 200 million and generated a wide review after Ukraine was declared the winner of the contest.
Pro-Russian Group wages War
The Killnet hacking group recently claimed to have infiltrated the anti-cybercrime unit of Italy’s State Police after the authorities blocked their attempts at the Eurovision Contest.
As a result, they have declared war on Italy and 10 other countries. The threat group seemed to mock the Italian authority by claiming that it was responsible for taking the website of the police cyber department offline.
At the time of writing, the said website Cnaipic appears to be offline, which could give credence to the claim by the Killnet group that it attacked the website. In response, however, Italian police stated that they were able to “neutralize and repel the attacks.”
Cnaipic was used to prevent the pro-Russian attackers from gaining access to the Eurovision Song Context
Cnaipic had police officers working 24/7 to protect the Eurovision infrastructure, which was later attacked by the Russia-linked threat group.
During the voting preparations for the event, the hackers directed various DDoS attacks on the network infrastructure used for hosting the show. The Italian Police said the attacks on the singing performance were nullified with the help of Eurovision TV management and ICT Rai.
The authorities said the DDoS attacks were prevented during the final voting stages and the competition’s grand final.
Killnet Also Attacked The Italian National Health Institute
The authorities also noted that they sourced the associated Telegram channels of the hacking group to gain more intelligence that helped them to prevent the attack as well as the identification of the location of the hackers.
A few days before the Eurovision contents, the Italian Police, through ANSA, reported that the Killnet threat actor was responsible for the attacks on the Italian National Health Institute and Automobile Club d’Italia.
Additionally, the Italian senate’s website was attacked as hackers succeeded in taking down web pages for about an hour. Normalcy was later restored and the authorities said no damage was done.
Website Of Italy’s Senate Also Attacked
Elisabetta Casellati, Italy’s senate speaker stated that there was no damage to the senate due to the attack. She stated that the mechanics for the timely intervention of the attacks were in place. As a result, authorities were able to thwart the DDoS attacks before they penetrate systems.
“These are serious episodes, which should not be underestimated. We will continue to keep our guard up” she stated.
The Killnet hacking group has been on the watchlist of several international security agencies for some time. Earlier, the Give Eyes intelligence alliance released a joint cyber security advisory that named Killnet as one of the most notorious threats to critical infrastructure. Those behind this threat group have shown high levels of skills in their attacks. In most cases, they go after high-value targets like big organizations and critical infrastructure.
The group has been exploiting organizations and infrastructures of different countries in the past. Its activities intensified recently after Russia invaded Ukraine.
The 10 Countries Were Not Named
In March, the threat actors launched a DDoS attack on Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. The group has also been connected to several other cyberattacks in the recent past.
While several threat actors are throwing their weight behind Ukraine, the Killnet hacking group is one of the very few threat actors that support Russia against Ukraine in the ongoing war. The cyberwar is getting heated up as several threat actors choose sides. Groups like the Anonymous cyber threat actors are backing Ukraine.
However, while Italy was specifically mentioned in connection to the attack on Eurovision Song Contest, the hacking group did not reveal the ten other countries it is engaging in the cyberwar. But it’s most likely countries that have aligned with Ukraine and shown them support during the crisis.