US airports targeted by suspected Russian cyberattacks

Over 12 different airport websites were affected by 14 different cyberattacks throughout the day on Monday.

 Cyberattack (illustrative) (photo credit: PEXELS)
Cyberattack (illustrative)
(photo credit: PEXELS)

Russian hackers are suspected to have carried out cyberattacks against US airports throughout the day on Monday, causing multiple airport websites to be taken offline, The Independent reported on Monday. 

The hackers took down websites of prominent US airports, such as LaGuardia Airport in New York, and Chicago International Airport, with LaGuardia being the first to report the cyberattack to the US Cyber ​​Infrastructure Security Agency. More than 12 other websites were affected by 14 different cyberattacks throughout the day, including Los Angeles International Airport and Atlanta International Airport.

Despite the attacks, flights were not impacted and continued as normal, while the websites were eventually restored.

According to the report from the Independent, it remains unclear which group is behind the attacks, although CNN reported that the pro-Kremlin hacking group known as Killnet had listed multiple US airports as potential targets. 

The Killnet group has already taken responsibility for bringing down several state government websites across the US earlier this month, including in Colorado, Kentucky and Mississippi. 

An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, on a flight from Miami to New York City, comes in for landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York, U.S., March 12, 2019.  (credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, on a flight from Miami to New York City, comes in for landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York, U.S., March 12, 2019. (credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)

Speaking to NBC News. a senior US government source called the situation an inconvenience, adding that it had "led to a denial of public access" to airport websites.

Late in the day on Monday, Denver International Airport was still experiencing website outages, a spokesperson for the third-busiest US airport told ABC News. 

"The attacks began around 11 a.m. this morning and they continue," said the spokesperson. "The attackers are attempting to overwhelm our website so that it becomes unavailable to the public.

"At this time, the attacks have not been impactful, though we are closely monitoring these attacks and any others. We are also sharing information on these attacks with TSA, CISA and other airports," they added.

However, the website appears to now be back online.

Also speaking to ABC, US Senator and Majority Leader of the US Senate Chuck Schumer (D.-NY) said that they are "pretty clear" that a Russian group was behind the attack. 

"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," he added.

A string of Russian cyberattacks

These cyberattacks are just the latest in a string of hacking attempts that have been carried out by Russia against countries that have sanctioned them for their invasion of Ukraine back in February. In May, Britain and the European Union claimed that Russia was behind a massive cyber attack against a satellite Internet network that took thousands of modems offline. 

"This cyberattack had a significant impact causing indiscriminate communication outages and disruptions in several public authorities, businesses and users in Ukraine, as well as affecting several EU member states," a statement from the European Union said at the time, while British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the cyberattack was "a deliberate and malicious attack by Russia against Ukraine."