Image: Savvas Kalimeris via Unsplash

Cyberattack disrupts Greek national high school exams

End-of-year high school exams in Greece were disrupted this week by "one of the most extensive cyberattacks in the country’s history," according to the country’s Education Ministry.

The distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS, targeted Greece’s online examination platform, which is designed to set a uniform exam standard nationwide. In a DDoS attack, a server is flooded with internet traffic from a variety of sources simultaneously.

According to local media reports, the system outage of the Subject Bank, as the platform is called, left students waiting in classrooms for hours for the exams to start.

According to the ministry, the two-day attack caused disruptions and delays in high school exams but did not fully disable the system.

“The attacks were highly intense and indicated a strong motivation and expertise, but they were successfully defended against by the relevant ministries' services,” the press office of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote in a statement.

According to the statement, the Greek authorities “are prepared to mobilize whatever resources necessary to tackle future cyberattacks promptly.”

A prosecutor from the Supreme Court ordered a judicial investigation, with assistance from the police's cybercrime division.

It is still not clear who is responsible for the disruption. No ransom demand was reported.

Schools are commonly targeted by hackers with both financial and personal motivations. Earlier in May, a private school in Virginia had to postpone final exams due to a ransomware attack. Final exams were also disrupted at universities in Tennessee and Georgia when hackers stole the sensitive information of students, parents, and employees.

The attack in Greece stands out because instead of targeting individual schools, the attackers disrupted a nationwide system.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.