Russian hacker group Killnet claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on Lithuanian websites in response to Vilnius banning the passage of goods sanctioned by the European Union across its territory and into the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, an isolated but strategically significant territory on the Baltic coast.
Killnet admitted to the attacks on their official Telegram channel on Monday.
“At the moment, we have disrupted the work of the entire Lithuanian online accounting department. We are certainly surprised that Lithuania uses an "online system" for accounting. Amazon servers are not capable of saving the situation,” the hacker group said. “What about the blocking of transit to Kaliningrad, comrades? Maybe you are hearing something."
Several Lithuanian public institutions have experienced cyber attacks, said the Lithuanian government public and media relations department.
“Due to cyber attacks on several public institutions there are temporary service disruptions. Our institutions are taking measures to solve current problems and prevent further disruptions. The most severe DDoS attacks have been already managed," the media department said in an email to CNN.
The situation was under control, Asta Galdikaite, head of the public information division at the Lithuanian defense ministry, told CNN.
But in an online statement published Monday, the Ministry of Defense warned of an “ongoing” cyber-attack.
“The National Cyber Security Centre (NKSC) under the Ministry of National Defence warns of an intense ongoing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against the Secure National Data Transfer Network, other governmental institutions and private companies of Lithuania. Part of the Secure National Data Transfer Network users have been unable to access services, work is progress to restore it to normal. The Core Center of State Telecommunications is identifying the most severely attacked websites in real time and applying additional protections, while also collaborating closely with international web service providers in search of solutions,” the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense said.
“It is highly probable that such or even more intense attacks will continue into the coming days, especially against the communications, energy and financial sectors,” said Jonas Skardinskas, acting NKSC director and head of Cyber Security Management Department, in the statement.
It was not immediately clear, when the online statement was published.
Why this matters: Tensions are mounting around the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Russia has reacted furiously after Lithuania banned the passage of sanctioned goods across its territory and into Kaliningrad. But Lithuania said it is merely upholding European Union sanctions, and the European bloc has backed it. The row now threatens to escalate strains between Moscow and the EU, which has unveiled several packages of sanctions on Russian goods.
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