The European Parliament declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, after which its site went down

to enlarge / A recap of what happens when your site is taken down by a DDoS attack.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that began shortly after the governing body voted to declare the Russian government a state sponsor of terrorism took the European Parliament’s website offline for several hours on Wednesday.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola confirmed the attack on Wednesday afternoon European time, although the site was still down. “A pro-Kremlin group claimed responsibility,” He wrote on Twitter. “Our IT experts are pushing back against this and protecting our systems. This, after we declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

At the time of reporting and writing this post, the website is back available and appears to be working normally.

The pro-Kremlin Metsola group, possibly known as Kilnet, emerged at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has posted claims of DDoS attacks on countries supporting the small nation. Targets have included police departments, airports and governments in Lithuania, Germany, Italy, Romania, Norway and the United States.

Shortly after Wednesday’s attack against the European Parliament began, Kilnet members took to a private Telegram channel to post screenshots showing that the European Parliament’s website was unavailable in 23 countries. The text accompanying the images made a homophobic comment directed at the legislative body

The outage came shortly after parliament voted overwhelmingly to declare the Kremlin a state sponsor of terrorism.

Members of the European Parliament “highlighted that the deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terrorism and constitute war crimes,” the declaration said. “In light of this, they recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and a state that ‘uses the means of terrorism’.”

The motion received 494 votes in favor and 58 votes against. There were 44 abstentions.

DDoS attacks typically consume the bandwidth of hundreds, thousands, and in some cases, millions of computers infected with malware. Once under their control, attackers bombard a target site with more traffic than they can handle, forcing them to deny service to legitimate users. Traditionally, DDoS is one of the most heinous forms of attack because it relies on brute force to silence its targets.

Over the years, DDoSes have become more sophisticated. In some cases, attackers can increase bandwidth by a thousand times using amplification methods, which send data to a misconfigured third-party site, which returns much more traffic to the target. Another innovation is designing attacks that exhaust the server’s computing resources. Instead of clogging the pipes between websites and visitors—the way more traditional volumetric DDoSs work—packet-per-second attacks send specific types of compute-intensive requests in an attempt to bring down the hardware connected to a target. A fixed pipe.

Metsola said DDoS attacks on the European Parliament are “sophisticated,” a term often misused to describe DDoSes and hacks. He provided no details to support that assessment.