Feeds

Botnets linked to political hacking in Russia

Traceroute

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.