Poland Blames Russian Hackers For Tax Website Attack

Russian internet © Pavel Ignatov Shutterstock 2012

Government official says Russia was behind a hacking attack on the Polish tax website, that blocked access to the online system

Tensions between Nato member Poland and Russia came out into the open on Wednesday, after Russian hackers were blamed for an attack on a government website.

Reuters reported Polish government official Janusz Cieszynski as saying on Wednesday that Russia was behind a hacking attack that blocked users’ access to the online tax filing system.

It comes amid ongoing tensions between Moscow and most of the world, over Russia’s illegal invasion and war in Ukraine.

Ukraine - Shutterstock - © Mykhaylo Palinchak

DDoS attack

“Russians are responsible for yesterday’s attack, it must be made clear. We have information that makes it very likely that this was the adversary,” Janusz Cieszynski, an official responsible for digitalisation, told broadcaster Polsat News.

The Russian embassy in Warsaw said in an emailed response requesting comment that it is “already used to the fact that in the West you can now accuse Russia of anything without evidence. This is another such case in the well-known style of saying it is ‘highly likely’.”

Cieszynski said the attack had consisted of distributed denial of service (DDoS) but that there had been no leaking of taxpayers’ data.

“This is an attack that blocks access to the site, but does not block security and put our data at risk,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Russia condemned

Last week over 141 countries at the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, calling for Moscow’s immediate withdrawal and an end to the fighting.

Thirty-two countries abstained from voting (China, South Africa, India), while seven countries, including Russia, voted against.

The Russian government has also been repeatedly been identified as a global leader in hacking and uses cyber-espionage against foreign governments.

Moscow has consistently denied that it carries out hacking operations, but then again it repeatedly denied in early 2022 that it was going to invade Ukraine.

In January GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a warning that the UK was being targeted by Russian and Iranian state-linked hackers.

These state linked hackers are increasingly targeting British politicians, journalists and researchers with sophisticated campaigns, it warned.