Feeds

Botnets linked to political hacking in Russia

Traceroute

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Security researcher Jose Nazario has uncovered circumstantial evidence of the use of botnets in politically-motivated denial of service attacks.

Political events in the wider world are sometimes accompanied by hacking incidents in cyberspace, such as defacements and the like. Nobody paid much attention to the issue until the Estonian DDoS events of earlier this year when government and commercial sites in the small Baltic country were taken offline for days in April amid a row with Russia about relocation of a Soviet-era memorial to fallen soldiers and war graves.

Botnets orchestrated by Russian hackers are reckoned to have been used to fire up the Estonian attacks. Involvement of elements from the Russian government is suspected by some, though there's nothing by way of evidence that the Kremlin had a hand in the assaults.

Nazario, a senior security researcher at Arbor Networks, has documented how botnets have featured in more recent politically motivated DDoS events. Attacks on the Ukrainian pro-Russian site of the Party of Regions, a party led by the Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, over the last three months were traced by Nazario back to networks of compromised machines.

Earlier DDoS attacks against the site of Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, a moderate Ukrainian nationalist, were not traced back to botnet activity.

Last week, Nazario traced attacks on the site of Gary Kasparov, famed Russian chess grand master turned anti-establishment politician, and namarsh.ru, another dissident site, back to a botnet. Both targeted sites seem to have weathered the assault largely unscathed (though the graphics on Kasparov's site failed to load properly).

The motives, much less the perpetrators, of the attacks remain unclear. "I can dream up scenarios where Russian hackers attack Russian dissident websites and politicians’ websites (and why, for example, a Ukrainian site that is pro-Russian is attacked), but I don’t know who is at the keyboard," Nazario writes. "I’ll keep watching these attacks and seeing what I can figure out, but so far it’s just a matter of guessing at motivations." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.