Over a dozen public-facing airport websites appeared inaccessible on this past Monday morning, October 10th, 2022, and the perpetrators are Russian-speaking hackers. The hackers rendered the affected websites inaccessible and includes websites of some of the largest airports in the nation. The affected websites included that of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Denver International Airport (DEN), and Des Moines International Airport (DSM).
After the cyber attack hit multiple airports, there were no immediate signs that it impacted air travel. This suggests that the problem only inconvenienced people looking for travel information. A senior official who spoke to ABC News said that the affected systems don’t manage internal airline communications, air traffic control, transport security, or coordination.
The hacking group called Killnet listed several airports in the USA as targets. It increased activity to target organizations in countries with NATO membership after Russia invaded Ukraine. The “hacktivists” are loosely organized and politically motivated to support the Kremlin. Yet, its ties to Moscow are not known.
Recently, the group claimed responsibility for knocking US state government sites offline. It was also blamed for briefly downing a US Congress site in July of 2022 and for cyberattacks on Lithuanian organizations after the nation blocked the shipment of goods to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave, in June.
The attack that Killnet uses is called a distributed denial of service (DDoS). In this attack, hackers flood servers with deceptive website traffic to knock them offline. The cyber attack was intended to disrupt systems that people use to check information like flight timings and other details. Many airport websites that the cyber attack affected have now been fully restored.