Cyber attacks by pro-Russian hackers have paralyzed the air traffic control employees' operations.
According to the Wall Street Journal, on April 20, around 2,000 employees of the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation could not access internal or external communication channels because of the attack. Employees were forced to use commercial channels.
The hackers were unable to access the air traffic control IT system of the agency, but they did penetrate its website. This caused it to malfunction. The statement on the agency website states that "the attack is causing disruptions to the website, and web availability."
EOSAN (also known as Eurocontrol) was forced to warn travelers that connectivity issues were continuing and to avoid using its online system to submit flight plans. Eurocontrol's spokesperson told The Journal that while the operations were safe, it was difficult to do other things.
The pro-Russian hacking collective KillNet posted a message on Telegram on April 19 asking black-hat hackers to support a "100-hour" distributed denial of service (DDoS), which would make Eurocontrol's services unavailable. A DDoS attacks typically disables users by exploiting software or hardware vulnerabilities or by overloading the bandwidth on a network.
In the post, the hackers claimed that they wanted Eurocontrol to be suppressed because it is linked to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), which supports Ukraine's war against Russia. Killnet has threatened to "cause much discomfort to all airlines in Europe."
In October last year, KillNet claimed to be responsible for a DDoS attack on US Airlines that left travelers stranded at major airports.
Since the beginning of the Ukraine war, KillNet has launched numerous cyber-attacks on European airports. The attacks have affected more than 30 airports.
According to Thales's Cyber Threat Intelligence Report from February 2022, there will be almost as many cyber attacks related to war in EU countries (85 versus 86) as there are in Ukraine.
In the first quarter this year, 80.9% of all attacks were directed at the EU. According to the survey, 75% of attacks against governments and companies are DDoS.
In the report, Pierre-Yves Jolivet VP of Cyber Solutions at Thales states that "in the third quarter 2022, Europe will be dragged into an intense hybrid cyber-war, at a critical point in the conflict with a massive DDoS attack." Cyber is now an important weapon in the arsenal for new weapons of war.
Cybercrime is responsible for $400 billion of the $3 trillion global digital economy.