Russian-speaking hackers reportedly launched cyberattacks against the public-facing websites of more than a dozen airports in the United States on Monday, potentially escalating an already tense situation between Washington and Moscow.
News of the hack was discovered early Monday morning after the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency obtained word that LaGuardia airport’s system had been attacked, according to ABC.
Russian-speaking hackers apparently claimed responsibility for the attacks that temporarily forced 14 public-facing websites to shut down, including those of busy airports like New York’s LaGuardia, Chicago’s O’Hare, and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, among others.
Authorities stated that the cyberattacks did not interfere with air traffic controls. Instead, the hacks mostly just inconvenienced frustrated travelers across the country.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) told CNN that affected airports are being monitored and assisted in light of Monday’s events.
The attacks come amid heightened tensions in Eastern Europe over Russia’s invasion and subsequent occupation and “annexation” of parts of Ukraine.
Recently, a massive explosion at the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea has further escalated the geopolitical standoff between Russia and the West.
The bridge is a critical connection point providing the Russian army access to the annexed peninsula. Soon after the explosion, Moscow initiated one of its broadest bombing campaigns in Ukraine since the outset of the invasion. Russia targeted nearly a dozen cities as retaliation for the Kerch Bridge explosion.
According to CNN, the cyberattacks were carried out by the hacktivist group known as Killnet. The Russian-based group allegedly supports the Kremlin but is not officially linked to the Russian government.
The organization has utilized distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks as its primary weapon in the past. These attacks work by inundating computer servers with a deluge of traffic, incapacitating them.
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, the group claimed to have launched a cyberattack against Lockheed Martin for its role in manufacturing weapons destined for the Ukrainian military.