Russian hacktivists appear to have been busy again after reports suggested several hospital websites across the US and the Netherlands were downed by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
University of Michigan Hospital and Stanford Health Care Center were among the targeted facilities in the current campaign, which hit a handful of hospitals in the US, according to Atlas News.
The new wave of attacks was reportedly launched in response to President Biden’s decision to send dozens of Abrams tanks to help the war effort in Ukraine, with Killnet-affiliated Telegram pages lighting up over the weekend.
Separately, a hospital in the northern Dutch city of Groningen has also come under fire from suspected Russian hacktivists, according to newswire ANP.
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) has seen its website flooded with traffic, although no medical services are thought to be affected.
“Sometimes it stops for a while, and then it starts again. At the moment, it is quiet, but we don’t know whether it will really stop this time,” a hospital spokeswoman told ANP.
It’s unclear whether any other Dutch hospitals have been impacted, although the country’s healthcare computer emergency response team, Z-CERT, attributed the UMCG attack to Killnet.
The Netherlands has not agreed to send tanks to Ukraine as it currently does not own any outright, but leases the equipment from Germany. However, earlier this month it agreed to send a Patriot missile defense system to the war-torn country.
Killnet has been a vocal supporter of Russia’s war in Ukraine, using DDoS attacks as its primary weapon to disrupt operations in allied countries. Last week it hit several Lithuanian government websites, while in October last year it struck the websites of over a dozen US airports.
However, DDoS attacks are more of a minor irritant to governments and large organizations than a serious risk to operations. A much bigger concern for the healthcare sector is the impact of Russia-based cyber-criminals launching ransomware attacks.