Russian Hackers Launch Cyberattacks on US Airports

Some U.S. travel websites knocked offline after Russian hacker group calls for attack NBC News

Following a cyberattack on two of the busiest airports in the country, 13 U.S. airport websites, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, were made inaccessible Monday morning after Russian hackers targeted them.

Multiple US airports were listed as targets by the hacking group known as Killnet. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, it intensified its efforts to target NATO countries.

The attack did not target any air traffic control, airline communications, or transportation security systems.

However, despite the fact that it did not disrupt air travel, it raises concerns that America is a target for future cyber-attacks.

The Port Authority notified the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the attacks early in the morning.

According to Port Authority spokesperson, a coordinated cyber attack on U.S. airports compromised the website of the Port Authority for 15 minutes.

A source told ABC News, “It’s an inconvenience.” The attacks tried to overwhelm the system resulting in targeted “denial of public access” to websites that provide airport wait times and congestion information.

As soon as the breach was detected by cybersecurity, Port Authority immediately alerted other airports and federal agencies.

In addition, several other airports were targeted after LGA was restored, including Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, LAX in Los Angeles, and O’Hare in Chicago.

Sen. Charles Schumer said, “We are pretty clear it’s a Russian cyber group that claimed responsibility. We are asking our authorities to confirm who did it and then take the appropriate strong action so the Russians know they cannot get away with this.”

A probe is being conducted into the possible connection between the Ukrainian conflict and the Russian cyber group Killnet.

Schumer added, “It is outrageous that Putin can now say he is entitled to retaliate against the Ukrainian people after his brutal war against them, In order to prevent future attacks, engineers and programmers are attempting to close the backdoors that enabled the attacks. We are going to find who you are, and we have ways of disabling you permanently in terms of your ability to hack. We are going to do it.”

The websites of several airports, including LaGuardia, have been restored after Russians hacked them.

Authorities are investigating the matter.

For more coverage on this story, see additional news sources below: 

Some U.S. travel websites knocked offline after Russian hacker group calls for attack NBC News

Russian-speaking hackers knock multiple US airport websites offline. No impact on operations reported CNN

LaGuardia among nation’s airports that may have been targeted by Russian hackers ABC 7

Cyberattacks reported at US airports Good Morning America

 

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John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.