A Russian hacking group has claimed to be behind the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Lithuanian websites “in retaliation” for halting transit of some goods under European Union sanctions to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.
Lithuanian state and private websites have had to stop all services due to Russian hacking group Killnet's DDoS attack.
Killnet claimed responsibility for the widespread attack which resulted in Lithuania's tax authority to shut down online operations, according to a statement. Although all data was safe, the Lithuanian tax authority experienced an unusually large number of attempts to connect to its systems.
Deputy Defence Minister Margiris Abukevicius revealed the main targets are state institutions, transport institutions, and media websites, in a statement.
A Killnet spokesperson stated that "the attack will continue until Lithuania lifts the blockade", according to a Reuters report.
"We have demolished 1,652 web resources. And that's just so far," the Killnet spokesperson added.
Kaliningrad is supplied by rail via Lithuanian territory due to being located between EU and NATO members Poland and Lithuania.
Lithuania had begun to see signs of an attack as early as 21 June, Abukevicius said.
A Russian Security Council spokesperson on 22 June promised retaliation over the blocked shipments, emphasising that these would have "a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania".
As deteriorating relations between Baltic NATO country Lithuania and neighbouring Russia continue, because of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in February, Lithuania's National Cyber Security Centre disclosed that "the secure network used by state institutions was also among those affected".
"It is very likely that attacks of similar or greater intensity will continue in the coming days, especially in the transportation, energy and financial sectors," Lithuania's National Cyber Security Centre said in a statement.
Lithuania "only applies the European Union sanctions" in ceasing transport of certain goods to Kaliningrad, according to European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, but the Baltic state has not taken any unilateral decisions.