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Hacker wars heat up as the pro-Russian Killnet attacks Italy

Cyberwar intensifies with pro-Russian groups targeting western nations that support Ukraine's effort to combat Moscow's aggression.

Killnet, a pro-Russian hacker group, hit several Italian institutions and ministries last week. According to Italian cyber-security group Yarix, Killnet launched a series of offensive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The DDoS offensive targeted websites of the Italian government, judiciary institutions, ministries, and media websites. The Italian embassy in London said the cyberattack disrupted the online process for consular applications.

Killnet boasted about their success on their Telegram channel, claiming that Italy was 'squashed like a mosquito.'

Russia-affiliated Killnet took on the Italian government agencies after the nation's police said it successfully prevented DDoS attacks during the Eurovision song contest.

The pro-Russian group has been on a spree recently. Government websites in Italy, Romania, Germany, as well as websites in Czechia, Latvia, and elsewhere were under Killnet's cyber fire.

Message on Killnet's Telegram channel.

Persistent attacks against targets in the West caught the attention of the Anonymous collective, with the group declaring 'war' against Killnet the next day after attacks on Italy. The Italian part of the collective also promised to retaliate.

Unconfirmed reports that appeared on pro-Ukrainian hacker forums said that a database with personal information on Killnet’s members was leaked.

Competing hacker groups launched numerous attacks after Russia invaded Ukraine. Anonymous, Ukraine's IT Army, Hacker Forces, and many other hacktivist groups started targeting Russia's state-owned enterprises and businesses.

According to the United Nations, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created the 'fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.' Over 11 million people were displaced due to the conflict, with over 6.4 million fleeing the country.

Witness testimonies from Ukrainian towns Russian forces have occupied for close to a month point to severe human rights violations and targeted lethal attacks against civilians. Reports of "gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights" got Russia suspended from the UN Human Rights Council.

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