A new report has claimed that cyberattacks targeted several of the largest airports in the United States on Monday.
As reported by ABC News, John Hultquist, the head of intelligence analysis for the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, who claimed to have been briefed on the situation, said that the attacks originated from Russia. Hultquist noted that the hacks did not disrupt crucial functions such as air traffic control, airline communications, or transportation security.
Instead, Hultquist said, the attacks amounted to “an inconvenience,” such as the “denial of public access” to public web domains that report airport wait times, delays, and congestion.
Hultquist said that the “denial of service” attack targeted over a dozen airports across the country, overloading the websites in question with fake users. He added that the most likely culprit for the attack was “Killnet,” a pro-Russian hacker group, but noted that this particular group is not suspected of having any ties to the Russian government.
The hacks were first noted at about 3 AM EST at LaGuardia Airport, at which point the Port Authority informed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency about the attack. Other airports that were impacted include Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Des Moines International Airport.
“Similar to many other U.S. airports, DEN’s website has been targeted,” said a spokesman for the Denver airport. “The attacks began around 11 a.m. this morning and they continue. The attackers are attempting to overwhelm our website so that it becomes unavailable to the public. At this time, the attacks have not been impactful, though we are closely monitoring these attacks and any others. We are also sharing information on these attacks with TSA, CISA and other airports.”
“Early this morning, the FlyLAX.com website was partially disrupted,” LAX said in a statement. “The service interruption was limited to portions of the public facing FlyLAX.com website only. No internal airport systems were compromised and there were no operational disruptions.”
Hultquist noted that such jamming attacks, although extremely visible due to their high-profile targets, ultimately end up being superficial in impact and temporary in duration.