A number of French government agencies have been hit by “intense” cyberattacks, the prime minister’s office announced on Monday.

The nature of the attacks, which began on Sunday night, has not been confirmed although the description is consistent with distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The French government said the attack was “conducted using familiar technical means but of unprecedented intensity.”

DDoS attacks are not capable of stealing information, although they can prevent people from accessing a network resource because they flood the servers with junk requests.

While DDoS incidents have been attributed to state-sponsored groups, the simplistic nature of the attack means they cannot offer a lasting disruptive capability or provide the attacker with a method to penetrate the targets’ networks.

In recent years, such attacks have been launched by groups expressing support for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. Researchers believe some of these groups may have external sponsorship. The French government did not attribute the incident.

The attacks this weekend targeted a number of ministerial services, according to a statement by the prime minister’s office. It is not clear if they were limited to just the public-facing websites used by the French government.

The statement announced that a “crisis cell has been activated to deploy countermeasures,” and that “the impact of these attacks has been reduced for most services and access to state websites restored.”

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