DDoS attack knocks Irish government websites offline, soon after major cyberattack on Irish lottery
Multiple Irish government and public sector websites have been knocked offline in an apparent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.
The development comes after a major cyber-attack on the Irish lottery this week, that left punters unable to buy tickets online and in stores.
According to the Irish Independent website, the DDoS attacks began on Friday morning, although some commentators believe the attacks actually began on Thursday evening and carried into Friday.
Websites taken offline include the Central Statistics Office, The Department Of Justice and the Courts Service. Apparently those websites became unavailable for approximately an hour on Friday morning, but appear to be working correctly as of Friday afternoon.
“We are currently experiencing what appears to be a DDoS attack on Government infrastructure so the CSO website is down for the moment,” the Central Statistics Office was quoted as saying on Friday morning.
“A number of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are currently targeting Government Infrastructure,” said a spokesman for the Irish Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was quoted as saying. “These attacks have resulted in periodic disruption that has resulted in a number of Government websites becoming unavailable to the public.”
“We have implemented our contingency plans which are designed to minimise this disruption,” the spokesman reportedly said. “As with all DDoS attacks it is not possible to identify the exact source of the attack.”
But there concern is that these DDoS attacks could be a smokescreen for other cyberattacks intent on more malicious purposes.
“The Irish Government Infrastructure appears to be the target of cyber attack activity, specifically malicious DDoS events, impacting a variety of public sector website properties, rendering then inaccessible,” said Stephanie Weagle, senior director of Corero Network Security, which specialises in mitigating DDoS attacks.
“DDoS are increasingly being used as a smokescreen to hide even more malicious activity on the network,” warned Weagle. “This should be a concern for the teams dealing with the attacks against the Irish Government network infrastructure.”
Security firm Kaspersky recently warned that DDoS attacks are becoming longer and more thorough as criminals specifically target certain organisations known to have weaknesses in their systems.
Indeed, it found one attack lasted for an astonishing 320 hours.
Meanwhile a recent Akamai report found that the UK has become the leading originator of DDoS attacks, ahead of China and the US.
But the UK is also an increasingly popular target, after the same report found that in the third quarter, the UK was the second most targeted country for web application attacks at seven percent of total attacks, with the United States (75 percent) taking top spot.
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