Major US airports hit by cyberattack from ‘within the Russian Federation’
Some of America’s largest airports were targeted on Monday by an attacker within Russian territory, senior officials told US outlets.
16:43, Mon, Oct 10, 2022 | UPDATED: 19:05, Mon, Oct 10, 2022
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Hackers have launched a cyberattack against some of the largest airports in the US today, according to reports citing senior officials. They said that the attack originated from within the Russian Federation.
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An official with knowledge of the attack told ABC news the systems which had been targeted did not handle air traffic, internal airline communications or transport security.
The attacks reportedly resulted in targeted “denial of public access” to public-facing websites that report airport wait times and congestion.
The cyber hit was first reported around 3am EST (9am BST). America’s cybersecurity agency was notified by the Port Authority that it had detected an attack on the systems used for LaGuardia airport, New York City.
LaGuardia’s IT systems have since been restored, but other airports were said to be subsequently targeted.
The attack limited public-facing web domains that report airport wait times and congestion (Image: Getty)
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ABC said that the websites for Des Moines airport, in Iowa, Los Angeles International airport (LAX), and Chicago O’Hare airport had been impacted.
Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta said around 4.30pm BST that its website was functional again and that “at no time were operations at the airport impacted”.
As of 5.45pm BST, its website remains inaccessible from the United Kingdom, showing an error message that suggests its servers are treating connection requests as potentially harmful.
Engineers are now working to close the back doors that allowed the hackers to get through.
LaGuardia’s IT systems have since been restored, but other airports were subsequently targeted (Image: Getty)
The cyberattacks against US airports came as the Russian military launched a fresh wave of missile strikes on Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strikes were in retaliation to an explosion which has crippled the Kerch Bridge linking Russia and Crimea. The US renewed its support for Ukraine following the missile strikes.
However, Western officials have yet to say whether they believe the cyberattacks were conducted or sanctioned by the Russian state.
The US has been prone to subversion by the Russian state before. The nation’s intelligence agencies concluded that a groups linked with the Russian secret services staged targeted attacks and leaks to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.
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As of 5.45pm BST, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport’s website remains inaccessible from the UK (Image: ATL)
Engineers are now working to close the back doors that allowed the hackers to get through (Image: Getty)
Signs of Russian interference were also recorded in the 2018 and 2020 elections, including attempts to undermine Joe Biden.
Nations such as the US and the UK have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine and public condemnation of Russia, which has made them more vulnerable to cyber and infrastructure attacks.
America’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said since the invasion of Ukraine, all organisations “must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber incidents”.
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Its analysis of the threat Russia poses to US computer systems found that “Russian state-sponsored threat actors” were targeting industries including aviation, healthcare and even nuclear facilities.
According to an annual assessment of the danger of Russia by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “Russia almost certainly considers cyberattacks an acceptable option to deter adversaries, control escalation, and prosecute conflicts”.