A Russian hacker group claims to have temporarily taken down a number of New Zealand websites - including Parliament's - in retaliation for the Government supporting Ukraine.
The 'NoName057(16)' hacker group claims on Telegram to have caused the New Zealand Parliament, Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) and Legislation websites to temporarily crash this week as a result of a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
Clerk of the House of Representatives David Wilson confirmed to Newshub the Parliament website was impacted by a "cyber security-related event on Monday night".
"The situation was resolved quickly thanks to the hard work of the Parliamentary Service’s IST website technical team," Wilson said.
"The security of the website was not compromised during the attack and no communication was received by Parliament from the attackers. For cyber-security reasons we will not be sharing the technical details of the situation."
PCO said its websites (legislation.govt.nz and pco.govt.nz) were subject to an attack on Monday night.
"There was a short outage on the legislation.govt.nz website while the PCO applied standard mitigations. There was no further impact."
A spokesperson for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) National Cyber Security Centre said it was aware of the DDoS attacks that affected "a range of New Zealand websites" overnight Monday-Tuesday.
However, it was not aware of any ongoing impact.
"DDoS attacks are not new, they have been taking place since the early days of the internet, including in New Zealand. Most organisations have a range of measures they are able to deploy, to mitigate the impact of such attacks.
"By their nature DDoS attacks are very difficult to attribute, because they usually work by sending traffic via many different networks and devices."
In a Telegram message on Monday, the hacker group said New Zealand imposed sanctions on Russia following the illegal invasion of Ukraine and has also assisted with training Ukrainian forces.
It also noted that Prime Minister Chris Hipkins hadn't fully ruled out visiting Ukraine during his trip to Europe, though he is now back in New Zealand and only briefly spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of the NATO Leader's Summit.
"Today we will go through the resources of this country and clearly show the New Zealand authorities what it will cost them to support Zelensky's criminal regime," the group claimed.
Last week, the Government announced a package of support for Ukraine, including to help clear land mines and ensure the maintenance of nuclear safety.
"We strongly support the underlying objective that Ukraine should determine its own future within its internationally-recognised borders," Hipkins said.
The Russian group claims to have attacked the websites of other countries' Governments, like Latvia.
DDoS attacks involve overwhelming a targeted website or server with a flood of traffic to cause them to crash.
The GCSB said: "Denial of Service DDoS attacks seek to saturate a victim’s network with significant volumes of internet traffic that block legitimate users from accessing websites".
"The nature of this type of attack means that internet service and external security providers are best placed to provide and implement technical mitigations.
"The GCSB’s technical cyber defence capabilities are primarily focussed on the detection and disruption of malware. Nevertheless the GCSB has a range of relevant expertise and has provided advice and guidance to organisations to assist in ensuring their systems are resilient to this malicious activity."