A hacker attack on Wednesday morning knocked down the web portal of the Czech Interior Ministry and the websites of the firefighters and police. This happened exactly one week after cyber attackers brought down the government website in the same way as the websites of some regional airports and Czech Railways.
“We apologize for the temporary unavailability of the website. The portal is currently overloaded. Please try again later, ” the mvcr.cz website has said since Wednesday morning. The same message is displayed if people try to visit the police or firefighters’ websites. The ministry confirmed that a cyberattack caused the outage.
The hackers used the technique of “Distributed Denial of Service.” These attacks always have the same scenario: hundreds of thousands of computers start accessing a specific server at one moment. The server is usually unable to process any such requests and crashes. For ordinary users, the attacked website then appears to be inaccessible.
Last week, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (STAN) said that Russian hackers had conducted a cyber-attack on the systems of the Czech state and private institutions but that no information or personal data of citizens had been leaked. The attacks were later claimed by the pro-Russian hacker group Killnet.
Cyberwar also threatens the Czech Republic.
Similar cyber attacks have been practically the order of the day since the start of the war in Ukraine. Still, hackers have mostly settled their scores in recent weeks, mainly within computer systems in Russia and Ukraine.
However, the National Cyber and Information Security Bureau (NCIS) warned as early as February of “the growing threat of cyberattacks and cyber espionage linked to the ongoing armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.”
As part of this warning, the authorities urged organizations and companies to “be vigilant against the most commonly used attack techniques and to update information systems and their components to avoid exploiting known vulnerabilities.” According to the NCIS, the call directly affects the media, which could also be targeted.
“We are issuing this warning as a precautionary measure because the threat has risen above normal levels given the current situation,” said Karel Rehka, director of the NCIS. He stressed that the authorities “assess the threat at the critical level in probability.”