A DDoS attack conducted by unnamed hackers temporarily shut down two websites owned by the Czech Statistical Office during the vote count on Saturday.
The two Czech Parliamentary Election websites were temporarily down followed the DDoS attack but authorities claim that the overall progress of the elections was not affected.
'The websites related to the parliamentary elections — volby.cz and volbyhned.cz — have temporarily failed to function due to DDoS attack [Distributed Denial of Service] during the vote count on Saturday. These attacks have not affected the overall progress of the election,' said Petra Bacova, a spokeswoman for the Czech statistical office.
'Thanks to the rapid response, the attacks on the both aforementioned servers have been neutralized, while the work of the websites has been resumed,' she added.
Following the DDoS attack, the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency has launched an investigation into the incident in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies. Both websites run the outdated HTTP security protocol instead of the latest HPPS.
This isn't the first time that hackers have targeted the Czech Parliament or the country's lawmakers. In January, it came to light that for over a year, unnamed hackers were able to crack as many as 168 email accounts belonging to Parliamentarians and stole over 7,000 top secret diplomatic documents from the Parliament's servers.
According to Deutsche Welle, the hackers appeared to have stolen 'documents that originated from IP addresses in Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and within the Czech Republic. Those included documents related to negotiations, the EU military commission and ambassador appointments.'
'Reports of disruption to government websites during the recent Czech parliamentary elections, demonstrate how easy it is for malicious actors use DDoS attacks to disrupt or potentially influence the outcome of what is supposed to be an unbiased process,' says Sean Newman, Director at Corero Network Security.
'Organisations of all types and sizes, including governments, need to ensure they have effective protection in place. And, only the latest truly real-time DDoS protection solutions can automatically and surgically block attacks and leave regular traffic unimpeded, to ensure that web-based resources remain continually operational and, in this case, the democratic process is not impacted,' he adds.