The European Parliament website on Wednesday faced a “sophisticated” cyberattack disrupting its services moments after members voted to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.
“I confirm that the Parliament has been subject to an external cyber attack, but the Parliamentary services are doing well to defend the Parliament,” Dita Charanzová, Czech MEP and Parliament vice president responsible for cybersecurity, said in a statement.
Another senior Parliament official, requesting not to be named, said “it might be the most sophisticated attack that the Parliament has known so far.”
The attack is what’s known as a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, in which massive amounts of traffic are sent to servers in an attempt to block internet users from accessing websites, Marcel Kolaja, European Parliament member for the Czech Pirate party, confirmed.
DDoS attacks are used by hacking groups to disrupt and cause chaos. It emerged as a favorite instrument of Russian hacking groups like Killnet, notably as a way to protest against political decisions in European countries to support Ukraine in the war.
The attack on the European Parliament website comes after the chamber voted on Wednesday to adopt a resolution declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism because of Moscow’s strikes on civilian targets in Ukraine.
“We have a strong indication that it is from Killnet, the hackers with links to Russia indeed. This is my information, but it is under control. It only cut the external access to the Parliament’s website … Unless there is extra attacks we expect it to be back and accessible very soon,” said Eva Kaili, Greek member and vice president of the European Parliament.
“This morning Russia was still designated as a terrorist state in an official resolution. This afternoon the entire network collapses in [the European Parliament],” Alexandra Geese, German Greens’ MEP, tweeted.
Belgium’s national cybersecurity center confirmed that there’s an investigation at EU level but couldn’t provide further information on the matter.
Pieter Haeck contributed reporting.