Pro-Russian attackers aim for US Department of Homeland Security

Killnet, a hacker group loyal to Russia, continues to test the US, adding different government institutions to its list of targets.

Killnet continues ravaging US-based organizations, asking its affiliates to focus their distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack efforts on the websites of healthcare and government organizations.

“The largest DDoS attack on the US medical sector is announced. The list of targets included corporate networks of hospitals, hospitals, providers of online medical services,” a post on the group’s Telegram channel said.

However, the administrative website of the US Department for Homeland Security (DHS) was also included in the list of Killnet’s targets. According to publicly accessible website monitoring tools, the website Killnet targeted was down. However, the public-facing website of the DHS was not affected.

Killnet Telegram
Message announcing the attack on Killnet's Telegram channel.

Other organizations that appeared on Killnet’s victim list include the websites of Massachusetts General Hospital, New York Presbyterian hospital, Miami’s Jackson Health System, and others.

On February 1, Killnet launched multiple DDoS attacks on the US healthcare system. At least 14 US healthcare organizations were actively targeted by the notorious Russian hacktivist gang, presumably in response to President Biden’s promise last week to provide dozens of military tanks to Ukraine.

While Killnet claims coordinated attacks severely affect targeted institutions, the actual impact DDoS attacks have is debated. However, experts advise against underestimating pro-Russian hacktivist groups as their attacks can often serve as a distraction from more technically complex operations running in the background.

Recent reports show Killnet has drawn some fairly ostentatious supporters in its home country, with a well-known Russian rapper releasing a track in support of the group and a Moscow-based jeweler releasing Killnet-themed rings.

According to an analysis by Digital Shadows, before turning to pro-Russian hacktivism, operators of the Killnet botnet offered their services for $1,350 per month – a single botnet had a capacity of 500GB per second and included 15 computers.

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