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Polish news websites targeted by cyberattack: officials

18.05.2023 20:30
Several leading Polish news websites suffered a hacking attack on Thursday, with government security officials warning of Russia’s attempts to "destabilise" the country and "sow chaos among the public.”
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The cyberattack on Polish news websites was "likely carried out by Russian hacker groups," officials said.

It targeted polityka.pl, niezalezna.pl and wyborcza.pl, as well as rp.pl, wpolityce.pl and wprost.pl, among other websites, they added. 

Some of the sites reported “temporary difficulties” with access to content, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

The owners of the wpolityce.pl website said in a tweet on Thursday morning: ”The wpolityce.pl website is being subjected to a DDoS hacking attack, resulting in temporary problems with access to the site. According to information obtained from Poland’s Digitisation Ministry, the attack is being carried out by Russian hacker groups."

The tweet added: "Other Polish news websites have also been targeted. We are working to resolve the problems.”

Cyberattacks 'playing into Russian hands': security official

Stanisław Żaryn, the Polish government’s commissioner for the security of the information space, said Poland would launch “a technical investigation” into Thursday’s cyberattack, the PAP news agency reported.

Żaryn added: “What is clear so far is that it was likely a DDoS attack, designed to block access to news websites, specifically well-known, major news websites. It fits into the pattern of cyberspace warfare, as well as information warfare and disinformation.”

He added that the cyberattack was "consistent with Russia’s attempted actions against Poland, such as using cyber tools to sow chaos and fulfil certain information aims directed against Poland.”

Żaryn stated: “Russia will be seeking to destabilise the Polish state, and attacks on media outlets will definitely help spread chaos among the Polish people. They will definitely play into Russian hands.”

He added that “a technical investigation” would be necessary to determine beyond any doubt if Russian hacker groups were indeed behind Thursday’s attack on Polish news websites.

Żaryn also said that Poland’s cyber security agencies were “well-prepared” for cyber defence.

He cautioned, however, that “cyber warfare continues" and that "Russians are attacking in a very aggressive way.”

Gov't warned websites about cyberattack: digitisation minister

Meanwhile, Poland’s Digitisation Minister Janusz Cieszyński told the PAP news agency that the government had given all the targeted news websites “an advance warning” about the cyberattack.

He said: “After learning about the planned attack, we immediately alerted all the news websites in question to enable them to respond to the situation. Thankfully we learned about the attack at least somewhat in advance.”

Asked if the cyberattack had been the work of Russian groups, Cieszyński said: “That’s the information we have. So far it has been borne out. In this case, we learned that an attack was imminent, and then indeed it happened, which suggests that this information is credible.”

DDoS attack

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) is a type of cyberattack employed by hackers or cybercriminals to make an online service, network resource or host machine unavailable to its intended users on the internet, according to US cybersecurity company Check Point. 

Targets of DDoS attacks are flooded with thousands or millions of superfluous requests, overwhelming the machine and its supporting resources, Check Point said. 

Thursday is day 449 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, niezalezna.pl, checkpoint.com