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In the United States, Russian-speaking hackers take down (Hacks) state government websites.

In the United States, Russian-speaking hackers take down (Hacks) state government websites.

Washington CNN Russian-speaking hackers claimed responsibility on Wednesday for taking down state government websites in Colorado, Kentucky, and Mississippi, among other states, the latest example of apparent politically motivated hacking in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Kentucky Board of Elections website, which provides information on how to register to vote, was also temporarily unavailable on Wednesday, but the cause of that outage was not immediately clear. The Kentucky government also manages the board of elections' website, though the hackers did not specifically name the board as a target.

The websites in Colorado, Kentucky, and Mississippi were intermittently available Wednesday morning and afternoon as administrators appeared to try to bring them back online.

It's an example of the kind of digital disruption or distraction that US officials and election officials are bracing for ahead of the November midterm elections. Websites such as the Kentucky Board of Elections are not directly involved in the casting or counting of votes, but they can provide useful information to voters.

"The [hacking] campaign does not appear to specifically target U.S. elections infrastructure, though election-related websites can be indirectly or directly impacted through the broader operation," the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing & Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), a nonprofit-backed threat-sharing center, said in an email to election officials obtained by CNN.

Killnet, the hacking group claiming responsibility for Wednesday's website outage, increased their activity following Russia's February invasion of Ukraine to target organizations in NATO countries. They are a loose group of so-called "hacktivists," or politically motivated hackers who support the Kremlin but have no known ties to that government.

The group also claimed responsibility for briefly taking down a US Congress website in July, as well as cyberattacks on Lithuanian organizations after the Baltic country blocked the shipment of some goods to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad in June.

According to the notice from EI-ISAC, which works closely with the federal government on election security, multiple states have confirmed intermittent connection issues to their websites as a result of suspected cyberattackers...

On Wednesday afternoon,

"Some Kentucky.gov state websites have been experiencing abnormal traffic, resulting in intermittent outages," Carlos Luna, general manager of Kentucky Interactive, a contractor that manages Kentucky government websites, told CNN. "We are continuing our investigation and collaborating with the Commonwealth to address the issue."

A request for comment from the Mississippi government was not returned by the time this article was published.

This week, FBI and CISA officials reiterated that any attempt by hackers to breach election infrastructure is "unlikely to result in large-scale disruptions or prevent voting."

On the Telegram social media app, the hacking group listed the US state websites — which state governments use to promote tourism and provide resident services — as one of their target lists for cyberattacks beneath a picture of a state.

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