UPDATE: 9th January
Ukraine's prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has blamed the Russian secret service for this week's successful DDoS attack on German government websites.
Prior to meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday, Yatsenyuk responded to media queries about the source of the attack, saying: "I strongly recommend that the Russian secret service stop spending taxpayer money for cyber-attacks against the Bundestag and Chancellor Merkel's office."
No substantiation was offered, and many commentators have subsequently noted how difficult attribution of cyber-attacks can be – citing the ongoing controversy over who hacked Sony Pictures last November. A report from the BBC quoted IT security expert Alan Woodward, referring both to the German hack and new FBI claims of North Korean involvement in the Sony hack, saying: “It is interesting that countries are blaming each other for cyber-attacks even though the information they put in the public domain often doesn't substantiate their claims.”
Pro-Russian hackers demanding that Germany end its support for the Ukrainian government claimed responsibility for an attack on German government websites, including the lower house of parliament, the foreign ministry's website and Chancellor Angela Merkel's page, ahead of today's meeting in Berlin between Merkel and Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk to sign €500 million (£390 million) in loan guarantees.
It appears that the websites such as www.bundeskanzlerin.de,www.bundesregierung.de and www.cvd.bundesregierung.de, which include speeches and general government information, were subject to a DDoS attack. "Our service provider's data centre is under a severe attack that has apparently been caused by a variety of external systems," is how Seibert described the event a news conference – with no attribution for responsibility made.
Despite counter-measures the sites had intermittent access from 0900 GMT yesterday. German intelligence officials were reported by Reuters as saying that some 3,000 such hacker ‘assaults' are dealt with daily, but this is the first time they have successfully brought the sites down.
A group calling itself CyberBerkut claimed responsibility on www.cyber-berkut.org, its name a reference to riot squads accused of killing demonstrators when suppressing last February's uprising in Kiev which ousted the former president Viktor Yanukovich. The hacker group reportedly claims to have hacked or temporarily blocked dozens of websites in Ukraine and abroad, including the website of the Polish president. AP reports that the hacker group also claims to have released documents including private email exchanges between Ukrainian officials, and papers on military cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine.