More than a dozen publicly accessible airport websites, including some of the country’s largest airports, appeared inaccessible Monday morning, and Russian-speaking hackers claimed responsibility.
No immediate signs of any impact on actual air traffic have been reported, suggesting the issue could be an inconvenience for people seeking travel information.
“Obviously we are following this and there is no concern about operations being disrupted,” Kiersten Todt, chief of staff for the U.S. Agency for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security (CISA), said Monday at a security conference in Sea Island, Georgia.
The 14 websites include the one for Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. An employee there told CNN there had been no operational impact.
The Los Angeles International Airport website was previously offline but appeared to be restored just before 9 a.m. EST. A spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The hacking group known as Killnet listed several US airports as targets. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, it stepped up its activities against organizations in NATO countries. The loosely organized “hacktivists” are politically motivated to support the Kremlin, but ties to Moscow are unknown.
The group took responsibility for taking US government websites offline last week. Killnet is accused of briefly shutting down a US Congressional website in July and conducting cyberattacks on organizations in Lithuania after the country blocked shipments of goods to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad in June.
The type of cyberattack used by Killnet is known as “Distributed Denial of Service” (DDoS), where hackers flood computer servers with fake web traffic in order to take them offline.
“DDoS attacks are favored by actors of varying levels of experience because they have visible results, but these incidents are typically shallow and short-lived,” John Hultquist, vice president of Google’s cybersecurity firm Mandiant, told CNN.
A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration said the agency is monitoring the issue and working with airport partners.