European air traffic control confirms website ‘under attack’ by pro-Russia hackers

Europe’s air-traffic agency appears to be the latest target in pro-Russian miscreants’ attempts to disrupt air travel.

Eurocontrol confirmed on Friday its website has been “under attack” since April 19, and said “pro-Russian hackers” had claimed responsibility for the disruption.

“The attack is causing interruptions to the website and web availability,” a spokesperson told The Register. “There has been no impact on European aviation.”

Eurocontrol coordinates commercial traffic between 41 states, including the EU and their national air-traffic control entities. The outage reportedly jammed the agency’s communication systems and forced some smaller airlines to use older technology to manage flight schedules, including a fax-era backup system.

The Eurocontrol spokesperson declined to answer The Register‘s specific questions about the incident, including which systems had been affected, when the organization expected to be fully back online, and whether Killnet was the responsible for the apparent distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, as the pro-Kremlin crew claimed on its Russian-language Telegram channel. 

“From today, a Eurocontrol marathon is being held, lasting 100 hours,” the post said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the Eurocontrol website woes, citing a “senior official familiar with the situation,” who said that air-traffic safety wasn’t at risk. However, the agency’s internal and external communication was affected, and this reportedly forced the organization’s 2,000 employees to use other commercial communication tools.

“It’s been a heavy cyber battle and while operations are entirely safe, doing other things has been difficult,” the official told the Wall Street Journal.

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