Intesa Sanpaolo
Image: Riccardo Tuninato via Unsplash

Pro-Russian hackers claim attacks on Italian banks

A pro-Russian hacking group has claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on Italian banks, businesses, and government agencies which flooded networks and disrupted services.

Italy's cybersecurity agency said on Tuesday it had detected distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the websites of at least five banks, including Intesa Sanpaolo — the largest bank in Italy. In a DDoS attack, websites are flooded with junk traffic with the goal of making them inoperable.

The group, NoName057(16), first launched cyberattacks on Italy on Monday and continued to target the country's services today.

In addition to banks, NoName057(16) claimed to have hacked the websites of an Italian water supply company, a national business newspaper, and a public transport website. At the time of writing, these websites are still down.

The attacks are another example of geopolitically-motivated hacks carried out by pro-Russian groups.

In a Telegram post leading up to the attacks, the group called Italian government officials “Russophobes” and criticized them for supporting Ukraine.

“Once again we remind the Russophobic Italian authorities that such actions will not go unnoticed,” the hackers said.

NoName057(16) is known for its attacks on Ukraine and its allies. In March, it targeted Poland's tax service website, and in January hit the websites of candidates in the Czech presidential election.

The group mostly operates through Telegram, taking responsibility for attacks and threatening others in messages to followers.

​According to researchers at cybersecurity firm SentinelOne, NoName057(16)’s DDoS incidents cause “short-lived disruption with little to no wider consequence.”

For its operations, the group mostly uses a DDoS attack toolkit called DDoSia.

It has deployed the tool against government agencies, media, and private companies in Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, Italy, and other European countries.

“This likely stems from the fact that those countries are the most vocal in public declarations against Russia and pro-Ukraine, as well as providing military support and capabilities,” said the researchers at cybersecurity company Sekoia in a report published in June.

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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.