Cyberattack Hits Lithuania After Sanctions Feud With Russia

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — A cyberattack temporarily knocked out public and private websites in Lithuania, the country's Defense Minister said Monday, with a pro-Moscow hacker group reportedly claiming responsibility.

A distributed-denial-of-service (DDOS) attack targeted a secure national data network. The State Tax Inspectorate and Migration Department were also among the public agencies forced to suspend online services for several hours. They came online again later the same day.

The incident came a week after Russian officials threatened to retaliate because Lithuania restricted the transit of steel and ferrous metals under EU sanctions. The ban on goods under European Union sanctions was announced by Lithuanian authorities earlier this month and prompted a flurry of angry retorts from Moscow, with the Kremlin denouncing the move as unprecedented and unlawful.

Moscow has accused Lithuania and the EU of violating international agreements, threatening a “non-diplomatic” response. Local authorities in Lithuania had warned that cyberattacks were likely to follow.

The ministry didn't name the hackers but the Baltic News Service said the pro-Kremlin group “Killnet” had claimed the attack.