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July 11, 2022updated 15 Aug 2022 11:55am

Ignitis Group hit by DDoS attack as Killnet continues Lithuania campaign

The energy company's services were knocked offline this weekend as Russian hackers target Ukraine's allies.

By Claudia Glover

Lithuanian energy supplier Ignitis Group has been hit with its “biggest cyberattack in a decade.” The group suffered numerous distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks over the weekend as part of an ongoing campaign by pro-Russia hacking group Killnet against targets in Lithuania, which has supported Ukraine during the war.

Lithuania has become a regular target for Russian hackers including Killnet in recent weeks. Pictured is the capital Kaunas (Photo by Andrius Aleksandravicius/EyeEm – Getty Images)

Ignitis, which serves 1.7m customers in Lithuania, described the attack as “the biggest cyberattack [it has faced] in a decade”. It said: “Strong DDoS attacks [are] causing disruptions to the operation of group websites and the availability of electronic services.”

The company stressed its internal systems have not been harmed, and that “no breaches into the systems or other negative impacts have been recorded”.

Killnet’s hacking campaign against targets in Lithuania continues

Russian hacking gang Killnet has claimed responsibility for the attack through its Telegram channel.

It has been targeting organisations in Lithuania for some weeks due to the support the country has offered Ukraine during the war with Russia, and in June claimed it perpetrated DDoS attacks that knocked Lithuanian government services and some businesses offline. This attack was thought to be in retaliation for a blockade organised by the Lithuanian government at Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave, which was stopping goods from reaching the rest of Russia.

Killnet also mentions this incident on its Telegram channel, stating that: “In Lithuania, brilliant tests of new ways of influencing the network infrastructure were carried out during our action in support of Kaliningrad.”

While cyber warfare during the conflict in Ukraine has not reached the heights many predicted, DDoS attacks, particularly on countries supportive of Ukraine, have been common. Ukraine itself was hit at the start of the conflict in February, and in April Killnet took down services in Romania in a DDoS attack which followed a visit by Romanian parliamentary speaker Marcel Ciolacu to Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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Ignitis DDoS attack: was Russian gas ban a factor?

The attack on Ignitis may relate to Lithuania becoming the first country to cease imports of Russian gas for domestic use, which was announced in April.

Lithuanian president Gitanas Nauseda said: “Years ago my country made decisions that today allow us with no pain to break energy ties with the aggressor. If we can do it, the rest of Europe can do it too!”

Ignitis itself said that it had bought zero gas from Gazprom, Russian energy supplier, in January, after cutting Gazprom’s share of its gas supply to less than one-third in 2021.

Read more: Port of London Authority hit by ‘politically motivated’ cyberattack

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