Two politicians are having a debate in front of an audience, holding microphones.

DDoS Attacks Hit European Governments On The First Day Of The EU Elections

DDoS attacks by hacktivists are targeting European political parties that promote strategies opposing their interests, according to a report by Cloudflare. The European Parliament elections that are presently taking place provide a perfect platform for hacktivists to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against political parties of all stripes.

Cyberattacks with political motives have begun in response to the European Parliament elections, which are currently taking place in the Netherlands and will soon be held in 26 other EU nations. On June 6, 2024, cyberattacks occurred on a number of Dutch political party websites. According to published sources, the hacker group HackNeT, which supports Russia, has taken credit for the incident.

Three Dutch political parties, the Christian Democratic Appeal, the Party for Freedom, and the Forum for Democracy, reported cyber-attacks on their websites on Thursday.

Cloudflare confirmed that it mitigated three distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against election-related websites and various political parties in the Netherlands.

The company reported two DDoS attacks on June 5 and 6. The initial attack hit a turning point of 115 million requests per hour, with one site receiving 73,000 requests per second for four hours.

DDoS attacks targeting two political-related sites graph

The second DDoS attack was less severe, with 44 million requests per hour and a high of 52,000 requests per second on a single target. This attack, like the one before it, targeted political websites in the Netherlands.

2nd DDoS attack graph

The blue line in the graph shows how the attack gradually increased over the first part of the day. Cloudflare said it effectively stopped both attempts to interrupt the targeted websites with its automated detection and mitigation capabilities.

Russian hackers disrupted European election season with planned DDoS attacks

Pro-Russian hacktivists NoName57(16) group claimed that they were going to penalise the European Union (EU) for opposing the invasion, together with seven other organisations and further anonymous teams.

Another Moscow-affiliated cyber group, HackNeT, took credit for the attack on its Telegram channel. They also went after the European Court of Auditors and the Dutch Reformed Political Party.

Hacktivist Group HackNeT Claims Responsibility for DDoS Attacks
Hacktivist Group HackNeT Claims Responsibility for DDoS Attacks

NoName57(16) has taken credit for DDoS attacks on European websites in vengeance for their support of Ukraine, however their original focus was on network traffic flooding attacks against Ukrainian websites, particularly media outlets.

The German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs said on June 1, 2024, that there had been a “serious cyberattack” against the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) network. To investigate and stop the attack, they are working with the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Pro-Russian attackers have recently begun to target essential infrastructures, such as drinking water infrastructure. Authorities in the US, UK, and Canada issued advisories as a result.

According to CISA report:

Pro-Russia hacktivists targeting and compromising small-scale operational technology (OT) systems in North American and European water and wastewater systems, dams, energy, food, and agriculture sectors.

Hacktivist groups who support Russia are probably going to keep attacking European organisations in the run-up to the European Parliament elections. Their attacks on layer 4 and layer 7 would most likely consist of transient Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) efforts with the goal of utilising resources and causing system breakdowns. Election security is unlikely to be compromised by these attacks, even if they are readily countered with anti-DDoS technology.

Phishing Tackle offers a free 14-day trial to help train your users on different types of cyber attacks and test their knowledge with simulated attacks using various attack vectors. By focusing on training your users to spot different attacks rather than relying solely on technology, you can ensure that your organisation is better prepared to defend against cyber threats and minimise the impact of any successful attacks.

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