European elections at risk of disruption by DDoS gang

During the ongoing European Parliament elections, the Russia-aligned cyber criminal operation known as NoName057(16) has announced plans to launch widespread distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on internet infrastructure across Europe.

The elections, taking place for four days and starting on 6 June in the Netherlands, have already been marred by DDoS attacks on political websites, potentially linked to a group called HackNet. NoName057(16) has claimed responsibility for these attacks, threatening to target European entities and cause disruptions.

According to cybersecurity experts, NoName057(16) is a well-organized and sophisticated group that conducts targeted attacks on countries that have assisted Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. They have a history of targeting European countries and have claimed the most attacks against France between 2023 and 2024.

These attacks on the European elections are seen as a prelude to similar tactics that may be used in the upcoming UK General Election on 4 July 2024 and the US Presidential Election on 5 November. Hostile states like China, Russia, and North Korea are expected to exploit vulnerabilities in the information landscape to influence public opinion and potentially manipulate election outcomes.

In addition to DDoS attacks, there are concerns about the spread of deepfake videos and audio to deceive voters and smear political candidates. Groups of fake profiles on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) have been identified spreading misinformation and targeting candidates with manipulated videos to sow discord and confusion among voters.

Overall, the threat posed by cyber criminals like NoName057(16) highlights the need for increased vigilance and security measures to protect the integrity of democratic processes and safeguard against malicious interference in elections.

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