Polish media websites fall victim to cyberattacks on Thursday morning

Silas Stein/PAP/DPA

The government Plenipotentiary for Cybersecurity, Janusz Cieszynski, told PAP that having prior information on Thursday's hacker attack on a number of Polish media websites, all relevant editorial offices were given advance warning and could react to the situation.

On Thursday morning, there was an attack by Russian hacker groups, including on Polish information portals. The hackers allegedly attacked the following websites: Polityka.pl, niezalezna.pl, ceneo.pl, Wyborcza.pl, rp.pl, se.pl, wpolityce.pl, straight.pl, as well as login.gremimedia.pl (rp.pl and parkiet.com) and login.wyborcza.pl. Some of the websites reported temporary difficulties with accessing their services.

"Having information that such attacks were being prepared, we immediately informed all interested editorial offices so that they had the opportunity to react to this situation. I am glad that we have such information at least some time in advance," Cieszynski said and confirmed that Russian hackers were behind the attacks.

"The fact that even large news media can fall victim to such attacks proves that everyone with an online presence and derives their income from this presence should think about how to protect themselves against DDoS attacks," Cieszynski said adding that "It's not something you can't fight, but you have to be prepared for it".

He reminded that DDoS attacks are attacks that prevent ordinary users from accessing a given website due to the very high traffic generated by hackers.

Later in the day, Stanislaw Zaryn, the Government Plenipotentiary for the Security of Information Space, told PAP that "we are definitely in a period when Russia will look for opportunities to further destabilise the Polish state, and an attack on the media is of course something that will spread chaos among Poles, it would certainly play to the advantage of the Russians."

He added that there are many indications that "the way of operation corresponds to what the Russians are trying to do against Poland, for example, the use of cyber-tools to sow chaos and to achieve certain information aims against Poland."

At the same time, he admitted that it was not possible to be fully protected against similar attacks and threats. "It would be irresponsible to point out that Poland is 100 percent safe. The cyberwar is ongoing and the Russians are definitely offensive and aggressive in this cyberwar," he concluded.