According to a February 7th report by Reuters, the Austrian parliament has stated that the cyber attack that occurred over the weekend was the work of a hacker group based in Turkey.
The cyber attack in question was a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, and resulted in the Austrian Parliament’s official website being down for around 20 minutes.
According to public statements made by the parliament’s spokesperson, the hacker group known as Aslan Neferler Tim (ANT) claimed responsibility for the DDoS cyber attack.
This group is also referred to as the Lion Soldiers Team.
The hacker group was quick to boast of their successful cyber attack on social media platforms.
They posted a screenshot photo of the downed Austrian parliament official website on Facebook on February 5th.
The photo showed the website not loading as a result of the DDoS cyber attack.
The Lion Soldiers Team claims to be a defender of Islam, Turkey as a nation, the Turkish flag, and the homeland through their official website.
However, they seem to lack any definitive political ties.
Going by the message accompanying the Facebook post, the hacker group looked to have carried out this attack in part due to alleged racism from Austria against Muslims.
Austrian authorities have already commenced investigations into the cyber attack.
It is important to note that official sources indicate no data has been lost as a result of the cyber attack, though this has not been conclusively confirmed.
As more information becomes available following the investigations, the extent of the attack will be known.
The confirmation of the party behind the cyber attack on the Austrian Parliament is not based on these investigations.
The Austrian parliament decided to take the fact that the Lion Soldiers Team claimed responsibility as their current and main assumption.
The ongoing investigations will help to ascertain the actual truth behind the claim.
It is more likely to be the truth since the Turkish hacker group has a recent history with attacking Austrian organizations with this kind of cyber attack.
In September 2016, the same group was responsible for an attempted cyber attack on Austrian National Bank (OeNB) web servers.
They tried, unsuccessfully, to flood the email servers of the bank.
This was following a previous DDoS attack on the Vienna International Airport website.
Distributed Denial of Service attack is among the most common types of cyber attacks.
A DDoS attack attempts to deny a service to legitimate internet users by bombarding the target with traffic.
The most common technique, which is probably the one utilized in this case, is network traffic flood against target web servers.
In many cases, the target server is attacked by multiple sources at the same time.
In recent times, DDoS cyber attacks have become shorter in duration as evidenced by the Austrian parliament website’s downtime of only 20 minutes.
These attacks can be devastating nonetheless.
Many organizations are often not prepared and can be affected significantly with even minutes of downtime.
The full extent of the damage caused by the Lion Soldiers Team’s cyber attack on the Austrian Parliament website is yet to be known.
Commenters have taken the relatively short time that the site was down differently.
The first speculation is that this type of an attack was merely a warning shot of more to come.
This is going by the sentiments of the Lion Soldiers Team in their Facebook post.
The second takeaway is that this hacker group does not have the resources or expertise necessary to carry out such an attack on a grander scale.
Given the fact that cyber attacks are getting more sophisticated and malicious today and easier to conduct, going by the second speculation would not be very wise.
It is probable that Austrian authorities will be alert for secondary cyber attacks from the hacker group.
There is speculation that the parliament website cyber attack is related to the deteriorating relations between Austria and Turkey.
In recent years, the relations between the two countries have been strained, as Austria has been instrumental in opposing Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
This has been exacerbated by the Turkish government harsh crackdown following last year’s failed coup attempt.
The Turkish government has since accused Austria of systematic racism towards Muslim citizens.