NATO announced today that several of its public websites were brought down by hackers. It appears to be retaliation in the cyberspace with regards to increasing tensions over Crimea. Oana Lungescu, a spokeswoman for NATO, revealed via Twitter that the cyberattacks began on Saturday evening and continued well into Sunday. The alliance has since been able to restore most services.
Speaking with Reuters, a NATO official confirmed that while the alliance’s websites were taken down, at no point was its ability to command and control its forces impeded. Furthermore, at no point was there any risk to NATO’s classified networks, according to the official. The alliance’s unclassified email network was also affected by these cyberattacks.
A NATO affiliated cyber security center in Estonia was also hit. Hackers launched DDoS or distributed denial of service attacks on the websites. Essentially the attacks overload the websites with requests which results in slow speeds as well as a crash. While a group called “cyber berkut” has claimed that this attack was carried out by Ukrainians frustrated by what they believe to be NATO interference in their country, spokeswoman Lungescu said that the alliance wouldn’t speculate about who was responsible for the cyberattacks or what their motives were due to the various complexities involved in attributing the attacks.