The Russian Central Election Commission repelled hacking attacks against their website from 15 different countries on election day, according to Russian government-owned news agency TASS.
The commission’s website was hit by distributed denial of service attacks in the early morning hours on Sunday. DDoS attacks compromise the functionality of websites and other systems by flooding them with traffic in an attempt to overload the system.
“On March 18, we repelled a DDoS attack against the website between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. The peak of the attack was at 02.20 a.m. Moscow Time. The sources were located in 15 countries,” CEC head Ella Pamfilova confirmed, according to TASS.
In addition to the CEC’s website, attacks were carried out against the organization’s information center as well as various other Russian websites in the days leading up to the presidential elections, including Russia’s Telecom and Lenta.ru news portal, TASS reported.
Russians went to the polls to vote in the presidential elections on Sunday, set to give Vladimir Putin a runaway victory as the current president was leading the polls with support rates of around 70 percent. Another term would take him to nearly a quarter century in power — a longevity among Kremlin leaders second only to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
The majority of voters expressed that they saw no viable alternative to Putin; he has total dominance of the political scene and the state-run television, where most people get their news, giving lavish coverage of Putin and little airtime to his rivals.
Earlier this week, the United States announced sanctions against several Russian individuals and groups over malicious cyber activity after US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign using hacking and propaganda.
In addition, the Kremlin was involved in efforts to destabilize 19 European countries including the UK, France and Italy, according to a report by US members of congress in January.
Reuters contributed to this report.