Mississippi election officials confirmed the state was hit with a coordinated cyberattack Tuesday that disrupted their website’s operations periodically throughout Election Day.
In a statement from the Mississippi secretary of state’s office late Tuesday night, officials claimed to have experienced an “abnormally large increase in traffic volume due to DDoS activity” that caused the office’s website to be inaccessible throughout the day.
“We want to be extremely clear and reassure Mississippians our election system is secure and has not been compromised,” the office said in a statement. “Our team remains committed to upholding the integrity of Mississippi’s elections process.”
The statement comes after a series of Telegram posts by a group of Russian hackers announcing their intention to attack a number of political sites across the country during Election Day, including that of the Democratic National Committee.
While other major sites were not affected, Mississippi’s was offline at several points throughout the day in what officials with the Department of Homeland Security‘s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency confirmed was a DDoS attack that commenced shortly after the hacktivist group announced the attack.
“We have been chatting with them for the last several hours working with some of the vendors to put the mitigations in place,” a CISA official told reporters Tuesday. “And so I’m hoping that that’s going to be mitigated here in the next couple of hours. We’ve been working directly with them.”
A senior @CISAgov official just confirmed several Mississippi state govt sites were crippled by DDoS attacks. Asked about a pro-Russian group taking credit on Telegram, the official said he was “aware” of the reports. A handful of other states also were targeted with DDOS attacks
— Suzanne Smalley (@SuzanneMSmalley) November 9, 2022
Attacks on U.S. websites were widely expected ahead of Tuesday’s election. In a Telegram post in October, the Russian “hacktivist” group Killnet posted a list of several government websites it would be targeting in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections, including in Mississippi.
Over the weekend, Sergey Shykevich—a threat intelligence group manager at the software company Check Point—alerted media to a growing number of claims by Killnet on Telegram that it had conducted several attacks against the U.S., including DDoS attacks—the act of overwhelming a target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic—against eight U.S. airports, the CISA and the U.S. Department of Commerce, and a flooding of requests on the contact form of the CIA website.
While the U.S. Treasury Department managed to block some attacks, the group took responsibility for successfully taking down the website of the Department of Commerce, signifying what Shykevich called a renewed vigor in its efforts against the United States.
“A few weeks ago Killnet has mentioned that they will pause cyber-attacks against the U.S., as they do not want to be a cause of further escalation between the countries and sanctions against Russia,” he said in an emailed statement. “But it looks that now, they have resumed attacking the U.S.”
Newsweek has contacted the Mississippi secretary of state’s office for additional comment.
The post Mississippi Hit With Cyberattack After Russian Hackers Call for Strike appeared first on Newsweek.