Feeds

Botnets linked to political hacking in Russia

Traceroute

Seven Steps to Software Security

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." ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.