On Wednesday, news reports emerged that a Russian-speaking hacker gang took credit for taking down several websites belonging to U.S. state governments. According to CNN, the Kentucky Board of Elections website, which provides information on voter registration, was also affected on Wednesday, even though the organization had not expressly named it as a target.
According to the translation of a Telegram post from the hacking organization Killnet, it named the state websites among a list of targets intended to strike with service interruptions. Along with a U.S. tax payment website, the list also contained state government websites from Florida, Alabama, Delaware, and Hawaii, among other places. Newsweek revealed that sites in Connecticut were also affected by the disruptions on Wednesday.
The gang sent a picture of the Statue of Liberty surrounded by a nuclear explosion on Telegram with the English captions “USA OFFLINE” and “F— NATO.” Colorado said that a hack “by an anonymous suspected foreign actor” forced its official webpage down. The webpage remained down as of Thursday, but according to the Colorado governor’s office, services were still available, and internet access had not been compromised.
The hacker collective has taken responsibility for assaults on several targets in the United States and abroad, including disruptions of public and commercial sector websites in Lithuania earlier this year and an attempted attack against websites in Estonia. Although it is unclear exactly how the Russian-speaking hackers are connected to the Russian government, they appear to support the Kremlin.