The Serbian government announced on Saturday that the website and IT infrastructure of its Ministry of Internal Affairs had been hit by several “massive” distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
“So far five large attacks aimed at disabling the IT infrastructure of the Ministry of Interior have been repelled,” said Belgrade, adding that government employees and staff from state-owned Telekom Srbija (Telecom Serbia) were able to counter the attacks.
“Enhanced security protocols have been activated, which can lead to slower work and occasional interruptions of certain services, all in order to protect the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs,” the Serbian government added.
The DDoS attacks — which work by flooding targeted websites with junk traffic, making them unreachable — come amid a spate of similar incidents claimed by Russian-supporting groups in the context of the invasion of Ukraine, although no group has claimed to be behind the attempts to take the Serbian website and services offline.
While Serbia has historically enjoyed warm relations with Russia, its president Aleksandar Vucic refused to recognize the results of the referendums which Russia held last year in partially-occupied Ukrainian territory.
An analysis by the Council on Foreign Relations suggested that the war in Ukraine could be undermining Russia’s influence in the region.
However heightened tensions in the Balkans, which have recently seen violent clashes between ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo and the ethnic Albanian authorities, have prompted Kosovo’s prime minister Albin Kurti to accuse Russia of attempting to inflame ethnic tensions.